New Delhi: Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan on Tuesday said that he would propose a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh as courtesy, adding it is up to the latter to decide his acceptance or refusal.
Sajjan's remarks came as last week the Punjab chief minister dubbed him as a Khalistani sympathiser, who supports a Sikh nationalist movement demanding an independent state for the Sikh people. He also said that he would not hold a meeting with the visiting minister.
"I have been taught to show courtesy to the leadership of a country and I do this around the world. It is my responsibility to offer up a meeting (to the Captain) and if he decides he doesn't want to meet me ..that's for them to figure out. My actions and services speak for me..there is no ill will from me," Sajjan told the media here.
He added that his motive to visit Punjab is to pay respects to the place he was born at and to pay respect to the Harmandir Sahib.
"I'm not going to get into petty politics of one Chief Minister or any province my reason of going to Punjab is to pay respect to.as I'm a Sikh and pay respect to the village I was born in. I'm very very proud of my routes," he added.
Talking about his meeting with his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley, he said that the two leaders talked about enhancing defence relationship through high-level dialogues.
"We talked about enhancing our defence relationship. it is only through dialogue and exchange on senior leadership that we will be able to further look at and get a better idea as to what kind of training we need to provide. We have one of our frigates coming here in May and our army leadership will also be looking at greater cooperation," he said.
The minister also commended India's contribution in the conflict ridden Afghanistan saying, "India has done some really good work in Afghanistan when it comes to development, for eg. building roads. It sounds very minor but it is a very important part."
Sajjan arrived here on Monday on a seven-day India visit, his first after assuming charge as Canada's Defense Minister.
Sajjan will also travel to Punjab and Mumbai.
In Punjab, he will visit the Golden Temple and civil society organisations. He will inaugurate the new office of the Consulate-General of Canada in Chandigarh.
Sajjan, the highest-profile Indo-Canadian in the Justin Trudeau government, is the fifth Canadian Minister to be in India just this year, and the eighth within the span of only nine months, upping the intensity of the bilateral dialogue process.