Canada minister denies report of India delaying permission for Trudeau’s plane to land in Amritsar


New Delhi: Former Canadian defence minister Harjit S. Sajjan has termed as “not accurate” a local report which said that Indian authorities refused permission for a plane carrying Canadian premier Justin Trudeau and himself to land in Amritsar in 2018 unless the two met then Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to discuss Sikh separatism.

Sajjan said that while this particular report was inaccurate, there has been “significant misinformation and disinformation by India on individuals in this country, including on myself and my family as well”.

The current minister of emergency preparedness told a press conference Tuesday that “Canadians of every origin have the right to peacefully express their viewpoints on certain topics and that is what a democracy allows for”.

“We take any allegations of any other wrongdoing very seriously,” he added.

Earlier that day, the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail, reported that India refused to allow Trudeau’s plane to land in Amritsar during the 2018 trip, unless he and Sajjan acquiesced to a meeting with Singh to discuss the issue of Sikh separatism in Canada. 

Quoting unnamed sources, the paper said Singh handed over a dossier of about 10 Sikh separatists operating from Canada, whose activities New Delhi wanted “curtailed”. Indian designated terrorist Nijjar, who was shot dead in Canada last June, was on that list. 

The 2018 visit was a “political disaster” for the Canadian prime minister. The Canadian high commission in India invited an individual convicted of attempted murder of a former cabinet minister of Punjab, Jaspal Atwal, who is also suspected to have pro-Khalistani leanings. Atwal was seen in photos with the then first lady Sophie Grégoire Trudeau in Mumbai. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was miffed at Trudeau’s support of Sikh separatism and refused to meet him unless he made amends by meeting Singh, as reported by ThePrint.

Nijjar’s murder outside a gurdwara in British Columbia on 18 June, 2023, had the hand of agents of the government of India, Trudeau had alleged in Parliament.

India called the allegations “absurd and motivated” and temporarily shut down the issuance of visas for Canadians, citing the safety of their diplomats in Canada. 

Furthermore, New Delhi also demanded diplomatic “parity”, which led to Canada removing 41 diplomats and their dependents from India.

Last Friday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested three Indian nationals — Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh — and charged them with the killing.

(Edited by Tikli Basu)

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