GURAGON, India - Canada and India are like the star-crossed lovers of a Bollywood movie, says Stephen Harper — meant to be together, but forced to surmount a series of obstacles.

The prime minister's lighthearted analogy drew laughter from those listening to his special address at the World Economic Forum in Guragon, near New Delhi, on Wednesday.

"Two young people meet. They know they’re meant for each other, but they have obstacles to overcome," Harper said.

"And, before the viewer loses interest, they do, in fact, overcome those obstacles and the happy ending ensues."

Harper has made encouraging the flow of trade between Canada and India the focus of his six-day visit to the rapidly growing South Asian nation.

He has said repeatedly that Canada needs to branch out past its usual trading partners if it wants to weather the international economic storm.

While he didn't describe what the obstacles were between the two countries, his activities over the past week do suggest Canada is the character doing the aggressive courting in the screenplay.

He went through all the elements of his government's strategy for bringing stability to the economy — the "five t's" he called it: more trade, lower taxes, more training, the transformation of government process to get rid of red tape, and support for technology and research.

And he pointed out the reasons Canada should be attractive to a country like India.

"Canada is a natural-resources powerhouse. India needs resources to serve its growing industrial and technological strength," Harper said.

"Canada has strong, established public institutions. India’s needs in areas like education and infrastructure are outstripping its capacity."

The two countries are still in the midst of negotiations for a Foreign Investment and Protection Agreement — or FIPA — and for a free-trade style agreement they hope to wrap up by the end of 2013.

Former trade minister, Stockwell Day, co-chairman of the Canada-India Business Forum in New Delhi this week, is more blunt about the challenges faced by Canadian businesses and government.

"It seems that in almost every area, no matter what you're pursuing, there is a labyrinth of regulations and officials to deal with and rulemaking that's accumulated over the decades...," Day said in an interview.

"From 30,000 feet, millions of people have moved out of poverty in India, but much more could be done at a better pace."

The barriers mostly seem to be on the side of India. The government of Manmohan Singh is in a minority situation and he has not had an easy time pushing through some of his proposed economic reforms.

Singh's administration also faces a number of controversies involving foreign investment, most notably the staggering tax bill sent suddenly to British-owned Vodafone — a move being fought in the courts.

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  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit Sri Someshwara Swamy Temple in Bangalore, India on Thursday, November 8, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit Sri Someshwara Swamy Temple in Bangalore, India on Thursday, November 8, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit Sri Someshwara Swamy Temple in Bangalore, India on Thursday, November 8, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen are given a tour by Priest Sundar Dixit during a visit to Sri Someshwara Swamy Temple in Bangalore, India on Thursday, November 8, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper meeets with dancers from Sanatan Dharam College while out for dinner at a strip mall canteen in Chandigarh , India on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen and Suraksha, Grade 10, watch on as they visit the IMAX theatre with students from Stella Maris Girls School in Bangalore, India on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits the Sikh temple of Sri Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib, India on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with dancers from Sanatan Dharam College while out for dinner at a strip mall canteen in Chandigarh , India on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following a signing ceremony in New Dehli, India on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

  • Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper (L) and his wife Laureen Harper (C) sprinkle rose petals while paying tribute at Rajghat, Memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, during a visit in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on a six day official visit to India till November 9.

  • Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper (L) and his wife Laureen Harper lay a wreath at Rajghat, Memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, during a visit in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on a six day official visit to India till November 9.

  • Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper (2L), his wife Laureen Harper (L), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (2R) and his wife Gulcharan Kaur pose during the welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Stephen Harper is on a six day state visit to India till November 9.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper's limo with Ontario plates is pictured in New Dehli, India on Monday, November 5, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper (2L) inspects the Guard of Honour during the welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Stephen Harper is on a six day state visit to India till November 9.

  • Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper (2L) inspects the Guard of Honour during the welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Stephen Harper is on a six day state visit to India till November 9.

  • Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper (R) shakes hands with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Stephen Harper is on a six day state visit to India till November 9.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh before a meeting in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Harper is on a six-day state visit to India till November 9.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) attends a meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh (L) in New Delhi on November 6, 2012. Harper is on a six-day state visit to India till November 9.

  • Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and his wife Laureen Ann pose for a photograph in front of the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo)

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, India on Monday, November 5, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits the Taj Mahal in Agra, India on Monday, November 5, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, India on Monday, November 5, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit Humayun's Tomb in New Dehli, India on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes part in a business round table in New Dehli, India on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

  • Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and his wife Laureen Harper pose for photographs after visiting Mughal emperor Humayun's tomb in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

  • Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and his wife Laureen Harper pose for photographs after visiting Mughal emperor Humayun's tomb in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

  • Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and his wife Laureen Harper pose for photographs after visiting Mughal Emperor Humayun's tomb in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

  • Canada’'s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, is greeted by member of Parliament and Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor as he arrives at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

  • Canada'’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, center, and his wife Laureen Ann, right, are greeted by Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor upon their arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

  • Canada'’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, center, and his wife Laureen Ann wave as they arrive at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Harper is on a five-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper shares a plate of samosas with reporters and colleges while on route to India from Ottawa on Saturday, November 3, 2012. While in Asia Harper will also visit the Philippines and Hong Kong.