Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan arrives in New Delhi on Monday for a seven-day visit to India amid a controversy triggered by Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh who has dubbed him a “Khalistani sympathiser” and refused to meet him.
During his trip from April 17 to 23, Sajjan will be visiting Chandigarh and Amritsar besides Mumbai.
In Punjab, Sajjan will visit the Golden Temple and civil society organisations, and in Chandigarh, he will inaugurate the new office of the consulate-general of Canada.
His itinerary does not include a stopover at his native village of Bambeni in Hoshiarpur district, which his parents and sister are visiting.
Before heading for India, Sajjan posted a video on Twitter and said: “I look forward to my first trip to India since becoming Canada’s minister of national defence. This visit will further strengthen Canada and India’s bilateral defence cooperation, and expand our partnership in the security and defence sectors.”
Sajjan steered clear of commenting on Amarinder’s remarks. The Canadian media, particularly those with a Punjab connection, toed the same line, playing it safe and not commenting on the controversy.
Parvasi Punjabi, a newspaper printed from Toronto and Vancouver, reported Amarinder’s remarks and those of other party leaders in Punjab but did not highlight the report.
Another newspaper, Desh Pardesh Times, also restricted itself to reporting the statements of different leaders and parties.
In a TV programme last week, Amarinder described Harjit Sajjan “a Khalistani sympathiser” and added that there were four other ministers in the Justin Trudeau government with Khalistani links. He said he would not have anything to do with them.