Amritsar: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday assured Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh that his country stands for a united India and does not support any separatist movement, in India or elsewhere.
Trudeau’s categorical assurance came when Singh raised the Khalistan issue and sought his cooperation to crack down on elements in Canada that are working to destabilise Punjab for the creation of a separate Sikh state.
“I raised issue of Khalistan as it's the primary issue, as there is money coming in from various countries, including Canada," Singh said after the 40-minute meeting with the Canadian PM.
The Punjab CM also interacted with all six ministers accompanying Trudeau, in a major departure from his earlier stance on the Khalistan controversy. Last year, he had refused to meet Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan and termed some of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers as Khalistani sympathisers.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau & Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan meet Punjab's CM Capt. Amarinder Singh in Amritsar. pic.twitter.com/b0quHM1jDh
— ANI (@ANI) February 21, 2018
The 46-year-old PM, has during his visit, repeatedly emphasized that he does not support the alleged separatist sentiment simmering in a section of Canada’s Sikh community.
During Wednesday’s one-on-one meeting, he cited the separatist movement in Quebec to assure that he was fully aware of the dangers of violence.
I took up with Canadian PM, the militancy concerns we have and he has assured us that they will look into this matter: Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab CM pic.twitter.com/MozCKmuq7c— ANI (@ANI) February 21, 2018
Singh also handed over to Trudeau a list of nine Category `A’ Canada-based operatives alleged to be involved in hate crimes in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities, and also engaged in trying to radicalize youth and children here.
“Though freedom of speech was enshrined in the Indian Constitution, separatists and hardliners as well as those propagating violence, had lost any such right as they had been rejected outright by the people of Punjab,” Captain Amarinder told the Canadian premier.
The Canadian PM assured that he would address all concerns raised by Singh, saying he looked forward to closer ties with India, particularly with Punjab.
The meeting took place at the Taj hotel after Trudeau, his family and ministers visited the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, and the Partition museum.
During the meeting, Captain Amarinder called for cooperation between India and Canada on the issues of terrorism, crime and drugs, while seeking greater sharing of relevant information, in the interest of national and international security.