Amid purportedly strained visit, Trudeau, Amarinder Singh discuss Khalistan
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's first India visit has been marred by reports that the government has given him a "cold shoulder." Though it denies this, India has often accused the Canadian administration of backing Khalistani separatists. Amid the strain, Trudeau met Punjab CM Amarinder Singh today for half hour, a meeting that is widely expected to "take Punjab 20 years ahead."
About the Khalistan movement in brief
The Khalistan Movement is a Sikh separatist movement which called for the creation of an independent state of Khalistan. In the 1980s, the movement sparked deadly insurgency in India. Many Sikhs from violence-hit Punjab migrated to the US, UK and Canada after Operation Blue Star. Some set up pro-Khalistan organizations. Since then, India-Canada ties have been on ice over its perceived support for separatists.
A further dip in relations last year
Bilateral relations were hit further in April, when the Ontario Assembly passed a motion describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as "genocide." A month later, Trudeau attended an event where Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's photos were on display; Bhindranwale, considered a terrorist by India, is recognized as a martyr by Canadian Sikhs. Amarinder Singh then called Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan a "Khalistani sympathizer."
Today's meeting could 'take Punjab 20 years ahead': Navjot Sidhu
At today's meeting, Amarinder Singh "raised issue of Khalistan as it's the primary issue, as there is money coming in from various countries, including Canada, to Punjab to create this ruckus," he said. Trudeau had promised to "look into" it. Interestingly, Trudeau was accompanied by Sajjan. Sources said Amarinder Singh had agreed to a meeting after Canada wrote to him seeking one.
Trudeau signs the visitors' book at Golden Temple
Canadian PM to meet Modi before leaving India
Earlier today, Trudeau visited the Golden Temple with his wife and children for an hour. They made rotis at the langar. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) presented him a Siropa (robe), a gold-plated replica of the Golden Temple and kirpan (dagger), a shawl and religious books. Trudeau is scheduled to meet PM Narendra Modi day after tomorrow before flying back on February 25.