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India Punjab CM to meet Canadian PM Trudeau in Amritsar

Punjab CM to meet Canadian PM Trudeau in Amritsar

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Chandigarh: Ending long-standing uncertainty and speculation, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today he would discuss business as well as people to people ties with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Amritsar on 21 February, officials said.

“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,” the chief minister tweeted.

The development came following uncertainty over whether the Canadian premier would hold a meeting with Amarinder Singh during his short visit to Amritsar on 21 February.

Officials said that the chief minister would hold a meeting with the Canadian prime minister at a hotel in Amritsar after Trudeau pays obeisance at the Golden Temple.

Significantly, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had refused to meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan during the latter’s visit to Punjab last year. Amarinder Singh had even accused Sajjan of being a “Khalistani sympathiser”.

In 2016, when Amarinder Singh was the Punjab Congress chief, he had written a strongly-worded letter to the Canadian prime minister, lodging a protest on being denied permission for interaction with Punjabi NRIs in Canada in the run-up to the Punjab Assembly polls.

Amarinder Singh had called it a “gag order”.

However, Amarinder Singh has now directed the State administration to roll out the red carpet for Trudeau.

“Punjab has deep roots with Canada, where a large Punjabi community is settled and has always striven to strengthen the connect,” said Amarinder Singh.

He also referred to Trudeau’s apology, two years ago, in the Canadian parliament over the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, in which hundreds of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers in a ship were denied entry into Canada and forced to return to India, where they met a violent fate.

Meanwhile, the opposition SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal is expected to welcome the Canadian prime minister at the Golden Temple.

“Sukhbir Badal will welcome the Canadian PM at the Golden Temple. He will honour Trudeau as party president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD),” said SAD spokesman and former minister Daljit Singh Cheema.

The Canadian premiere is on a week-long visit to India accompanied by wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and three children -Ella-Grace, Xavier and Hadrien.

On 21 February, Trudeau will pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines and is also expected to visit the partition museum, officials said.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has planned a special event in the honour of Trudeau when he visits the Golden Temple.

SGPC, an apex religious body of the Sikhs, will honour Trudeau by presenting him a Siropa (robe of honour), a replica of the Golden Temple and a sword, an SGPC official said.

PTI

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