Will offer to meet CM Amarinder, says Canadian defence minister despite ‘Khalistani’ barb
Clearing the air over allegations of being a Khalistani sympathizer, visiting Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan has said that his visit is aimed at forging better bilateral ties and not to ‘break any country’.punjab Updated: Apr 21, 2017 15:19 IST
Clearing the air over allegations of being a Khalistani sympathizer, visiting Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan has said that his visit is aimed at forging better bilateral ties and not to “break any country”.
He said he would propose a meeting with Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh as courtesy, adding that it is up to the latter to accept or refuse. Sajjan’s remarks came as last week the CM dubbed him a “Khalistani sympathiser”, aligning him with a separatist movement demanding an independent state for the Sikhs. Amarinder has reiterated that he would not hold a meeting with Sajjan.
But Sajjan said on Tuesday, “I have been taught to show courtesy to the leadership of a country and I do this around the world. It is my responsibility to offer up a meeting (to the Captain) and if he decides he doesn’t want to meet me ... that’s for them to figure out. My actions and services speak for me... there is no ill will from me,” Sajjan told the media in New Delhi soon after his arrival. Before leaving back for Canada on April 23, he will be in his native Punjab on April 21 and 22.
“I do not promote the breakup of any country... My job is to promote a relation,” he also said.
He added that his motive to visit Punjab is to pay respects to the place he was born at and to pay respect to the Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple in Amritsar). “I’m not going to get into petty politics of one chief minister or any province,” he added.
“I have been given many labels throughout my life and your actions define who you are. I don’t personally suck into the internal politics of any province or nations,” he said while addressing an audience here as he spoke on ‘Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping in a Changing World’.
Talking about his meeting with his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley, he said that the two leaders talked about enhancing defence relationship through high-level dialogues. Sajjan will also travel to Mumbai. Also, he will inaugurate the new office of the Consulate-General of Canada in Chandigarh.
Sajjan, the highest-profile Indo-Canadian in the Justin Trudeau government, is the fifth Canadian minister to be in India just this year, and the eighth within the span of only nine months, upping the intensity of the bilateral dialogue process.