India and Canada will explore ways to deepen bilateral defence and security cooperation during Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan’s seven- day visit here, beginning today. Sajjan will have wide-ranging talks with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on a range of bilateral issues, particularly on ramping up defence and security ties. “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,” he said, before leaving for India.
Sajjan, a Sikh, will also travel to Amritsar, Chandigarh and Mumbai. In Punjab, Sajjan will visit the Golden Temple and civil society organisations, while in Chandigarh, he will inaugurate the new office of the Consulate-General of Canada. In Mumbai, Minister Sajjan will visit the Mumbai Port, and meet several business and industry leaders. Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel said there is untapped potential in further strengthen ties between India and Canada and Sajjan’s visit provide the opportunity to delve on them.
“Minister Sajjan’s visit is an ideal opportunity to highlight strong links between Canada and India, and to boost our people-to-people ties. There continues to be enormous potential for more cooperation in all areas of the bilateral relationship,” Patel said. Ahead of Sajjan’s visit, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he would not meet him alleging that the Canadian Minister is a “Khalistani sympathiser”. Canada had termed the allegation as “disappointing and inaccurate”.