Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today strongly raised with his Canadian counterpart Harjit Singh Sajjan India’s “anguish” over the Ontario legislative assembly passing a motion recently describing the 1984 anti- Sikh riots as “genocide”. In his talks with Sajjan, Jaitley condemned the passage of the motion saying it triggered outrage in India and it was a total exaggeration of facts.
The issue was raised strongly in the meeting. It was conveyed to the visiting Canadian minister that there has been considerable anguish and disquiet in India over calling the riots as “genocide”, sources said. Later talking to reporters, the India-born Canadian defence minister said it was a resolution by a private member and Canadian government and people do not at all subscribe to such a view.
According to reports, the motion was passed with 34 MPPs voting in favour and just five against. The 1984 riots broke out in the wake of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. In the meeting, both sides deliberated on ways to deepen defence cooperation. Sajjan said Canadian defence firms were very interested in participating ‘Make in India’ initiative for defence production.
He said Canada can offer a lot in join production of various military hardware and platforms. Jaitley and Sajjan also explored ways to boost maritime cooperation and research between defence research organisations of the two countries.
The possibility of regular military exercises between defence forces of the two countries were also discussed at the meeting. Addressing a press conference, Sajjan termed the talks “fruitful” and said both sides resolved to deepen overall defence and security ties.