Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is on a week-long tour to India, will visit Punjab on Wednesday where he is scheduled to meet Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Amritsar. Confirming the meeting on Twitter, the Punjab CM wrote: “Look forward to meeting Canadian Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau in Amritsar on Wednesday. I’m hopeful that this meeting will help strengthen the close Indo-Canadian business ties as well as the deep-rooted people-to-people relations between our two countries.”
Shiromani Akali Dal spokesman and former minister Daljit Singh Cheema said, “Sukhbir Badal will welcome the Canadian PM at the Golden Temple. He will honour Trudeau as party president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).” As per a report in The Indian Express, a source in the Canadian High Commission has said that the agenda for the meeting as of now is “open” and that it expects that India’s concerns and sensitivities will be “conveyed appropriately” to the Canadian PM. Justin Trudeau will meet PM Narendra Modi on Friday for bilateral talks.
The meeting, which is being seen as Trudeau’s attempt to pacify the Punjab CM over his government’s alleged stand on Sikh radicalism, it was the Canadian PM who took a call on meeting the Amarinder Singh after landing in India on Saturday, despite his officals learnt to have been a little hesitant initially. According to the new itinerary, the one-on-one meeting is set to last for around 20 minutes. The meeting will take place at the Taj Swarna hotel in Amritsar. Justin Trudeau will be landing in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
The meeting between the two leaders is significant given the Punjab CM’s accusations against members of the Trudeau cabinet of alleged links with Sikh separatists. It was on this ground that the CM had refused to meet Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan, the country’s first Sikh defence minister. The concerns over the apparently growing Sikh radicalism in Canada have caught the Centre’s as well and the meeting between the two will be watched closely. Canada’s attempts to assuage the concerns of the Indian government have so far been futile.
The issue could also feature in talks between PM Trudeau and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi when the two meet later this week on Friday in New Delhi.