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Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet

Last Updated Feb 21, 2018 at 8:05 am EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with CEO of Infosys Salil Parekh in Mumbai, India on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Some of India's biggest companies say they will invest more than $1 billion in Canada in the coming years in everything from pulp mills to pharmaceuticals and the IT sector.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

AMRITSAR, India – Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he and Prime Minister Trudeau made clear to the chief minister of Punjab today that his repeated allegations that Canadian cabinet ministers were Sikh separatists are extremely false.

Trudeau and Sajjan met with Amarinder Singh at a hotel in Amritsar this afternoon in part to try and mend fences on a fractured relationship between Canada and the Indian state where a majority of Indian Canadians are from.

Trudeau reiterated Monday during a stop in Mumbai that his government supports only a united India, a comment Singh said he was happy to hear.

Singh told an Indian news agency following today’s meeting that he raised his concerns about money coming out of Canada to support Sikh separatist extremists and about the existence of Sikh extremist elements in Canada, including financing for violent attacks in India, and says Trudeau promised he would look into it.

Singh refused to meet with Sajjan last spring saying he was sympathetic to the Sikh separatist cause and initially Trudeau was not going to meet with Singh but changed his mind at Sajjan’s request.

Despite the tensions around the separatist issue, Trudeau’s was warmly welcomed in Amritsar, with banners carrying his likeness around the city from the Punjab government and Sikh organizations.

Thousands of Sikhs also welcomed Trudeau to the Golden Temple prior to the meeting where they lined the walkways around the temple holding hands and calling out religious greetings to him warmly in Punjabi.