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New Chair of CIF, Ritesh Malik, Urges Indo Canadians to Unite to Strengthen Canada India Relationship

Canada India Foundation, the premier Indo Canadian organization, dedicated to building the closest Canada India bilateral relationship, welcomed its new Chair at its Annual General Meeting, held on November 10, 2023. The incoming chair, Ritesh Malik, has been an active member of the CIF and held the role of National Convener of the organization for three years before assuming the current position.Ritesh Malik is a serial entrepreneur and an impact driven investor specializing in real estate, logistics, PR and microfinancing. He and his family moved to Canada twelve years ago and are proud Canadian citizens today.
Immediate Past Chair, Satish Thakkar, while welcoming Malik, noted, “Ritesh has been an invaluable source of inspiration and support for the entire CIF team in the past. He is completely devoted to the cause that we have consistently espoused at CIF – a strong and rewarding Canada India relationship. I am looking forward to his term which I am sure will see even bigger initiatives toward realizing the CIF objectives.”Malik thanked Thakkar and the membership of CIF and the community in general for placing its trust in him. “While I am so grateful to all of you for this high honour, I am also a bit overwhelmed looking at the challenging situation that we face in our bilateral. I am sure with your support and blessings we can renew our efforts and move this file forward quickly,” Malik said.
Outlining some of the priorities that he would like to set in the immediate future, he said, “Our economic relationship is our No. 1 priority. The trade dialogue that was so close to conclusion just months ago is now in a state of limbo. CIF will do everything to help restart this dialogue because we believe very strongly that a close and dynamic economic partnership will be the best answer to overcome many of the irritants that creep into our bilateral. And we know that both Canada and India can create an environment that would be hugely rewarding for people in both countries. By collaborating on many of the most pressing issues facing the world, like climate change, economic development, terrorism, etc., Canada and India are uniquely placed to make a positive contribution.
”Canada and India share so much in common like democracy, pluralism and individual freedom. Malik noted, “As recent events have shown, shared values alone are not enough. We need to build on shared interests like trade and investment and human capital. When the larger interests of both countries and the people are given precedence over other factors, mutual understanding will also increase leading to stronger bonds.
”Malik said that the signs coming from both Ottawa and New Delhi are positive. “Recent statements by our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Melanie Joly and India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, give us lot of hope that they would navigate a path forward befitting the mature democracies that we are.”Malik also urged the near two million strong Indo Canadian community to unite and support efforts to strengthen Canada India engagement wherever possible.
“While we have been a productive and peaceful community, we also need to be extra careful that tiny sections can sometimes create big trouble. In this context, CIF condemns a recent video that calls for acts of terrorism to be committed on Air India. We are appalled by this statement considering that it is the same kind of violent ideology that led to the terrorist act that killed 329 people in 1985, majority of them being Canadians. That act of terrorism stays as a blot on Canada’s fair name even till today. I am also disappointed that this has not brought forth the condemnation it deserves from many of our leaders. We need to combat these elements at every step of the way by sustained campaigns at both individual and community levels.”
CIF Board Members
Sunita VyasChetan HandaSanjay Makkar
Vase SarmahGirish KekrePradyuman Jhala
The new CIF Executive Team members are Sunita Vyas, National Convener and Chetan Handa, National Co-convener. Sunita Vyas has decades of experience as an entrepreneur in the education sector and has served on the Board of National Association of Career Colleges Canada. Chetan Handa is a successful entrepreneur with presence in multiple sectors like FMCG, Real Estate, Jewellery, IT and Manufacturing.
Sanjay Makkar, an insurance industry veteran becomes the new Treasurer and Vase Sarmah, a tech transformation leader and an expert in global strategic positioning, will assume the role of Secretary of CIF.Additionally, Girish Kekre, Past Treasurer and Metals Industry Executive and Pradyuman Jhala, an entrepreneur active globally in immigration, trade, education, and social impact solutions will be on board as Independent Directors.
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