Khalistan Shadow Looms Over Justin Trudeau’s Visit to India

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh raised the Khalistan issue during his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Khalistan was the primary concern raised by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 21.

“I raised the issue of Khalistan as it’s the primary issue, as there is money coming in from various countries including Canada that then helps create unrest in Punjab,” Singh said, according to ANI. “I also handed over a list of people in Canada that we think are involved in spreading ruckus in Punjab to Trudeau,” he added.

Singh also said that he was very impressed with Trudeau and they discussed investment prospects in the service sector, dairy farming, agriculture and trade between Canada and Punjab. “He is very sincere and willing to work alongside Punjab. I hope he will take our talks forward,” Singh said, according to the news agency.

It was earlier being said that Trudeau is being snubbed by the Indian government during his ongoing visit to the country because of the lack of clear stance from him against the Khalistan issue, and for avoiding clear condemnation of Canada-based alleged Indian separatists. Trudeau, who landed with his family in India on Feb. 17, has not met Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet, who on previous occasions had laid out a red carpet for other heads of states.

Another new controversy is plaguing Trudeau’s official India visit, after his wife Sophie was photographed with a convicted Khalistani terrorist, Jaspal Atwal, in Mumbai on Feb. 20. He was also photographed with Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi, who before the India visit dismissed his links to the Khalistan movement.

Atwal, who was an active member of the banned International Sikh Youth Federation, was also invited for a formal dinner with Trudeau at the Canadian High Commissioner’s house in New Delhi on Feb. 22. The Canadian government withdrew the invitation to Atwal following media reports about his connection with the separatist movement, and his conviction for the attempted murder of former Indian minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu on Vancouver Island in 1986.

Prior to meeting Singh, Trudeau and his family visited the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in Amritsar. They were accompanied by Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and other officials.

The Trudeau family performed kar seva at the Golden Temple’s kitchen, where they were taught to make roti by Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna. The Trudeaus tried to make the roti while their children Xavier James and Ella-Grace Margaret accompanied them.

On Feb. 20, Trudeau and his family met many Bollywood celebrities, including Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, and Anupam Kher, among others.

Meanwhile, India and Canada signed 66 new contracts during the ongoing visit of the Canadian PM. The deals, which are worth $1 billion in total, would potentially create 5,800 jobs in Canada. Trudeau is scheduled to meet Modi on Feb. 23 for bilateral talks.

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