Canada PM Justin Trudeau India tour 2018

February 22, 2018 - PatialaPolitics

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Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh who had a meeting with visiting Canadian Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau met all the members of Trudeau family in Hotel Swarna, the place where meeting between theCanadian PM and the CM was held.Amarinder interacted with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Besides meeting the Trudeau couple,Capt Amarinder Singh, also interacted with their children HadrienTrudeau, Xavier James Trudeau and Ella-Grace Margret Trudeau. Punjab cabinet minister Navjot SinghSidhu was also present on the occasion.It is pertinent to mention here that during the meeting Trudeau himself was donning a Kurta-Payjama while his wife and daughter were wearing Punjabi suits.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by his wife and two children, offered prayers at the Golden Temple on Wednesday, underlining the significance of the large Sikh and Punjabi community settled in Canada.Trudeau and his family landed at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport here from Mumbai and headed straight for the shrine to offer prayers.Wearing an off-white kurta-pyjama and head covered with a “kesari” (saffron) headscarf, Trudeau enteredthe Golden Temple complex with wife Sophie, who was wearing a turquoise kurta, and their children, who were also wearing traditional Indian outfits.Trudeau’s family members had their heads covered. Slogans of “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” were heard as the Canadian Prime Minister and others entered the complex housing Sikhism’s holiest shrine.Trudeau and his family members first went to to the “Langar Hall”, where thousands of devotees partake langar (community food) andalso do “sewa” (voluntary service). The Golden Temple’s Langar Hall is the biggest community kitchen in theworld.Trudeau and his family sat down on small stools inside the Langar Hall toknead flour and roll chapatis.The Canadian Prime Minister also did”parikarma” before entering the sun-soaked and glittering all-gold sanctum sanctorum. The family bowed before the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book that is considered as a living guru. The Trudeaus touched their foreheads on the ground inside the sanctum sanctorum. They were given “Siropa” (traditional robe of honour) by the head priest inside the shrine.Trudeau’s visit holds political and social significance in Canada as the country has a substantial Indian diaspora, a majority of them from Punjab.Trudeau, who was accompanied by Canadian federal ministers Harjit Singh Sajjan and Amarjit Bains, had asked local authorities to let him and his family enjoy the spirituality of the Golden Temple during their visit.He was received at the Golden Temple entrance by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal, along with Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.Earlier, Trudeau was received at the airport by Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.Tight security was in place in and around Amritsar for Trudeau’s visit. Government security agencies and SGPC volunteers formed a tight security ring around the Canadian Prime Minister and his entourage inside the shrine complex.Hundreds of personnel of Punjab Police and other security agencies were stationed at the airport and on the road from the airport to the Golden Temple complex. (Agency)Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday assured Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh that his country did not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere.The categorical assurance from Trudeau came when Captain 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.Citing the separatist movement in Quebec, 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’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral disclosed after the meeting. During a 40-minute long meeting here between the two leaders, the Punjab Chief Minister handed over toTrudeau 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 radicalize youth and children here.At the meeting, at which Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present, the Chief Minister 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 Captain Amarinder.He pointed out that people fighting elections on the plank of a separate Sikh state ended up losing their security deposits, said Thukral, adding that the Chief Minister thanked Trudeau for his explicit stand on a united India.The Canadian Prime Minister assured Captain Amarinder of addressing all concerns raised by thelatter, saying he looked forward to closer ties with India, particularly with Punjab, which he was happy to see progressing well.During the meeting, Captain 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. He reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the protection of human rights of all individuals, Thukral further disclosed.Citing the close historical ties between the two countries, particularly in the context of the contribution of both Indians and Canadians in the Great War, Captain Amarinder underlined the need for their governments to work closely together in mutual interest. He pointed out that 64,000 Canadian and 74,000 Indian soldiers who fought in the 1st World War were lying buried together in 134 cemeteries, creating an unbreakable tie between the two countries.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 twowere very low at the moment, the Chief Minister 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.Captain Amarinder identified Higher Education, Scientific Research & Technology, Innovation & Start Ups, as well as Skill Development as someof the areas in which Canada could contribute to the development of Punjab, whose people continue to play an important role in the progressof that country. With a large Punjabi Diaspora settled in Canada, and some even finding place in Trudeau’scabinet, the friendly relations between India and Canada continue to get strengthened over time, he added.In the field of Higher Education, the Chief Minister sought a student exchange programme as well as MoUs with universities and other institutions of learning, and regretted that the agreement signed with University of Saskatchewan had failed to materialize.Captain Amarinder suggested pulses,maize and livestock as areas of cooperation in terms of scientific research and technology. He also called for investments in Skill Development, suggesting that Canada could consider setting up Centre of Excellence, through its ownbusinesses/ university, within the Punjab Skills University. Canada could also aid in promoting emigration of trained Punjabi youth to Canada, he added.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, andurged 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.On the occasion, the Chief Minister presented to the Canadian Prime Minister his own book `Honour and Fidelity – World War I’ and `History ofSikhs’ by Khushwant Singh. He also presented a traditional Phulkari dupatta – an ethnic creation of Punjab’s famous weavers, and a shawl, to Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Captain Amarinderpresented several gifts to the prime minister’s three children.In response to Captain Amarinder’s query, Trudeau described his trip to India as extremely `enjoyable’. The Chief Minister later saw Trudeau and his family off at the hotel as they left for the airport.This was the first time any Punjab Chief Minister met the Prime Ministerof Canada, Thukral pointed out. ChiefPrincipal Secretary Suresh Kumar and Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh also accompanied Captain Amarinder.