Prime minister celebrates Diwali on eve of India trip, touts countries' bond

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper says there’s room to grow when it comes to trade and investment between Canada and India.

The prime minister says the bond between the two countries is based on a common language, a federal system of government, a commitment to democracy and pluralism and shared cultural experiences.

Harper made the comments in Ottawa Thursday night, at a celebration marking an Indian holiday.

It coincides with Harper’s upcoming visit to India — this weekend, he begins a week-long trip that will also take him to the Philippines and Hong Kong.

The prime minister has his eyes on a free-trade deal with the south Asian giant.

The trip is Harper’s second to India since 2009.