Indo-Canadians Honoured at ICCC Annual Gala and Awards Night
By A Correspondent
Eleven Indo-Canadians from all across Canada were honoured for their achievements at the 23rd Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce’s (ICCC) Annual Gala on June 14.
Over last 37 years, ICCC has emerged as one of the largest membership based national business organisations in Canada with over 2,500 members representing all facets of the Canadian economy.
With the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the prospects for a deeper engagement between Canada, the Indian diaspora and India have improved dramatically. More than ever before, Canada has an opportunity to leverage its position as a friend of India to significantly advance bilateral trade and people-to-people ties.
The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance, the evening’s keynote speaker has travelled to India several times. As minister for natural resources, he finalized details of the agreement for exporting Canadian nuclear technology, materials including uranium to India.
Indian High Commissioner Nirmal Verma spoke on the occasion and also handed over awards with Joe Oliver to the Indo-Canadians who have made outstanding contributions in various fields – outstanding male and female professionals of the year; outstanding male and female entrepreneurs of the year, lifetime achievement award; technology achievement award; and young achievers – the recognition that this year goes to two persons.
He highlighted the state of the Canada-India trade relationship, and the Government’s plan to reinforce this relationship in the near future. Minister Oliver reiterated that India and Canada are in a new era of commerce that will create jobs and benefit both our economies. He also commended the ICCC’s invaluable role in strengthening the bonds between our two countries.
Joe Oliver said, “Ours is a partnership of paramount importance and a priority for Canada – in so many ways, a natural partnership. When I spoke to the organization in February, I mentioned a book entitled “India: The Rise of an Asian Giant”.
“The title is fitting. If the 21st Pacific century, it will belong to a significant degree to this Asian giant. And for Canada, that means an historic opportunity.
“After all, our two countries share so much. Two democracies, members of the Commonwealth, rooted in the values of liberty, justice, human rights and care for the needy. Based on those values we have been collaborating closely to strengthen the global economic environment.”
Among the recipients was Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment, Social Development and Multiculturalism. He received the President Award from ICCC’s President, Naval Bajaj.
During his remarks, Kenney congratulated the other award recipients.
“We have this tremendous, successful, diverse and vital Indian community of over a million people strong, and yet we have a relatively small commercial trade relationship with India, which has not been keeping pace with the rate of growth in the Indian economy by any measure” said Minister Kenney. “I believe it is important for us to engage the Indian community in Canada as the human bridge that can help to lead the commercial relationship and the human, cultural and social relationship between our two countries.”
In his Presidential address, Naval Bajaj, said, “Last year ICCC created history when it acquired a new 6,000 square feet building that will become its headquarters. This is a significant event in the 37-year-old history of the Chamber. The building will open new growth avenues at a time when the Canada-India economic relations are on an upswing, and the Indo-Canadian population is coming into its own. In addition to serving as a venue for events, and being the operational headquarters, the new building will also house the proposed Centre for Excellence in Entrepreneurship that the Chamber will be launching this year.” Naval emphasized the continuing relevance of the Chamber and its pivotal role in both the bilateral ties between Canada and India, and in promoting the interests of Indo-Canadians.
The other award recipients included:
- Female Professional of the Year: Professor Shanthi Johnson, President of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute.
- Male Professional of the Year: Professor Deep Saini, Vice-President of the University of Toronto and the Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM).
- Female Entrepreneur of the Year: Sarab Hans, Managing Director of the Hans Dairy Inc.
- Male Entrepreneur of the Year: Sanjeev Sethi, founder of The Host Chain of Restaurants.
- Lifetime Outstanding Achievement Award: Aditya Jha, Board of Governors of First Nations Financial Management Board, Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, and Art Gallery of Hamilton.
- Humanitarian Award: Kishor Modha, founder of Mondetta Clothing Co. and Mondetta Charity Foundation.
- Young Achiever: Nikhil Seetharam, Grammy winning producer and composer, Composer for Video games and films in Hollywood and Bollywood.
- Young Achiever: Aaron Joshua Pinto, who has cultivated an unyielding passion for foreign culture, a taste for diplomacy, and a multi-dimensional approach to life.
- Technology Achievement Award: Alok Goel, founder and President of OMTEC Inc.
- Corporate Executive of the Year: Sanjay Tugnait, Executive Vice-President and Head of Americas at IGATE.
- Member of the Year: Indira Singh, Principal of Mining Consultancy International (MCI).
- Member of the Year: Kant Bhargava, Ambassador (Retired), has guided the ICCC on trade and economic policy matters.