Canadian Defence Minister meets Sushma Swaraj, discusses bilateral issues

Indian External Affairs Minister (MEA) Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with visiting Candian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan in New Delhi, the capital of India, prior to the latter leaving for Punjab yesterday. Sajjan and Swaraj also discussed deepening the engagement between the two countries with respect to trade and investment.

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj meets with Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in Delhi today,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted, posting pictures of the two leaders.

Canada is home to over 1.2 million Indian-origin people, comprising more than 3 per cent of the country’s population. Bilateral trade in 2010 was CND4.2 billion which had gone up to CND6.4 billion in 2014.

Sajjan, a Sikh, arrived in India on Monday for a seven-day India visit which is his first time after assuming charge as Canada’s Minister of National Defence.​ Sajjan had stirred up a controversy prior to his visit as the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, had branded him a ‘Khalistani sympathiser’ and refused to meet him.

Harjit Singh Sajjan (left) meeting Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
Harjit Singh Sajjan (left) meeting Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. Photo courtesy: Twitter @ArunJaitley

Earlier, Sajjan met Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. Sajjan discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues with the ministers. Jaitley raised the issue of India’s “anguish” over the Ontario legislative assembly passing a motion recently describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide”.

The private member's motion, which was supported by all three parties in the Ontario Legislature, was big news in New Delhi prior to the minister's seven-day tour, with many Indian media outlets condemning it.