After much uncertainty, sources in the ministry of defence (MoD) confirmed late on Monday evening that a guard of honour was indeed taking place for visiting Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan on Tuesday.
Earlier in the evening, feverish speculation was triggered after the MoD erroneously issued a “revised advisory” saying that “the tri-services guard of honour stands cancelled”. Late in the evening, MoD sources said an “oversight” had taken place. “The Guard of Honour is taking place as scheduled,” MoD sources said.
It may be recalled that just last week, Canada had reportedly described as “disappointing and inaccurate” the purported comments allegedly made by Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh that five ministers in the Justin Trudeau government, including defence minister Harjit Sajjan, were “Khalistani sympathisers”.
According to news agency reports last week, Mr Singh had earlier alleged that Mr Sajjan like his father is a “Khalistani sympathiser” and he would not meet him during his scheduled visit to India later this month. “There were, in fact, five ministers in the Justin Trudeau government who were Khalistani sympathisers and I will not have any truck with them,” Singh was quoted by news agencies as having claimed.
Reacting to the remarks, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi was quoted as saying, “The comments regarding Canada’s ministers are both disappointing and inaccurate.” It also asserted that Canada greatly values its relationship with the people and the government of Punjab, and looks forward to further advancing this relationship.
“We regret that the chief minister of Punjab is unavailable to meet with Canada’s minister of defence. The chief minister is welcome to visit Canada,” the high commission was quoted as saying. Mr Sajjan is scheduled to hold talks with the Indian leadership as well as reportedly speak on “conflict-prevention and peacekeeping in a changing world”.