India-BlackBerry deal possible, says Canada

The two ministers met as part of the 'First Annual Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment' to deepen their 'strategic partnership' and triple bilateral trade to $15 billion in the next five years.

India has extended the Aug 31 deadline by two months to allow BlackBerry -- which has one million subscribers in the country -- to allow access to its encrypted email message for security reasons.

Sharma reportedly reiterated India's decision to ban BlackBerry if RIM does not allow its access to secure emails by the next deadline. RIM has given some options to the
Indian government to stay in the world's second fastest growing economy. Van Loan said India's demand for access to BlackBerry encrypted data for security investigations is the same that Canadian security agencies already possess.

"As you know in Canada, when the police or security agencies present evidence to a judge and obtain a warrant, they are able to intercept telephone calls and other forms of communication," the Canadian trade minister told the media in the presence of Anand Sharma.

Since India is also seeking the same power to access emails for security reasons, Van Loan said, "We believe that RIM can arrive at a resolution on that basis - that protects freedom, protects those fundamental values of privacy but at the same time allows legitimate security interests to be represented." During their meeting, the two ministers released the Canada-India Joint Study Group Report on the feasibility of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), a government statement in Ottawa said.  

"The ministers agreed that there is significant potential for sustained growth in trade and investment flows between the two countries, and reiterated their prime ministers' commitment to increasing trade to $15 billion annually in the next five years," the statement added.

After entering into similar agreements with Japan, South Korea, Japan and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Sharma said India would soon finalise the accord with Canada. They also discussed the proposed social security agreement, foreign investment promotion and protection agreement and audio-visual co-production agreement between the two countries to raise their business ties.

The two sides agreed to set up a Canada-India CEO Forum to offer policy suggestions. They also decided to set up working groups on the private sector-public sector partnership (PPP) in areas of infrastructure, energy and mining, agro-processing, information and communication technologies, and education.

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