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Canada won’t support separatist movements, Trudeau tells Punjab CM

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during a meeting in Amritsar on Wednesday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during a meeting in Amritsar on Wednesday.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday asserted that Canada believes in united India and assured Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh that it did not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere.

Capt. Amarinder, who had a one to one meeting - that lasted for about 40-minutes with Mr. Trudeau here, said that he raised the issue of concerns over ''Khalistan'' with the Canadian Premier, to which he responded positively.

“I took up the issue pertaining to Khalistan as it's a matter of concern for us. Mr. Trudeau is aware of it and has assured that he is going to look into the matter,” said Capt. Amarinder, after the meeting.

During the meeting Capt. Amarinder sought the Canadian Prime Minister’s cooperation in cracking down on separatism and hate crime by a fringe element, constituting a miniscule percentage of Canada’s population. In response Mr. Trudeau assured Capt. Amarinder Singh that ''his country did not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere.''

An official spokesperson said that while citing the separatist movement in Quebec, Mr. Trudeau said he had dealt with such threats all his life and was fully aware of the dangers of violence, which he had always pushed back with all his might.

The Chief Minister handed over a list of nine Category `A’ Canada-based operatives alleged to be involved in hate crimes in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities, and also engaged in trying to radicalise youth and children in Punjab.

At the meeting, at which Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present, the Capt. Amarinder raised the issue of Indo-Canadians believed to be involved in targeted killings in Punjab, urging him to take cognizance of the same and initiate stern action against such elements.

“Though freedom of speech was enshrined in the Indian Constitution, separatists and hardliners as well as those propagating violence, had lost any such right as they had been rejected outright by the people of Punjab,” said Capt. Amarinder.

Capt. Amarinder called for cooperation between India and Canada on the issues of terrorism, crime and drugs, while seeking greater sharing of relevant information, in the interest of national and international security.

Responding to concerns raised in some quarters on reports of Human Rights violations, the Chief Minister said any aberrations were always dealt with strictly, with even policemen being sent to jail by the courts in such cases.

The spokesperson added that the two leaders agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation between their countries across various areas of bilateral relations, with the Chief Minister expressing Punjab’s keenness to engage with Canada in several vital domains related to economic cooperation.

Pointing out that trade and commerce relations between the two were very low at the moment, the Capt. Amarinder urged the prime minister to take steps to push investment by Canadian businesses in Punjab. The two leaders agreed to collaborate through joint projects aimed at facilitating progress of both, Canada and India.

The Chief Minister mentioned his government’s `Connect with Your Roots’, which he said could facilitate youth from Punjabi Diaspora in Canada to come and see Punjab, and urged the Canadian government to support the programme. Both Trudeau and Sajjan appreciated the effort and agreed with the Chief Minister that it would help a whole new generation of youngsters who had never seen India.

Earlier, amid tight security Mr. Trudeau, along with his wife and two children visited Amritsar and paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. In the visitors book, Mr. Trudeau wrote “What an honour to be well received at such a beautiful, meaningful place. We are filled with grace and humility.”


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 3:39:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/canada-wont-support-separatist-movements-trudeau-tells-punjab-cm/article61480563.ece