Harper Celebrates Diwali Ahead Of India Trip

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays the harmonium as Vharat Tiwari, right, plays the drums and Hemant Panwar, left, looks on as they participate in the 12th National Diwali Celebration at the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa, Thursday Nov. 1, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld | CP

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.

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