Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, who is presently visiting India, today said that it was the people and not nations that build relationships.
Inaugurating the new office of the Consulate General of Canada in Chandigarh, Sajjan praised the Consulate-General of Canada in Chandigarh for strengthening people-to-people ties between Punjab and Canada.
“I am very proud of the work being done by the Consulate-General of Canada in Chandigarh in strengthening people-to-people ties between Punjab and Canada. Nations do not build a relationship, people do,” he said.
Amid tight security arrangements, Sajjan reached the Elante office complex here shortly after 9 AM and inaugurated the new office of the consulate, which offers a wide range of services, including assistance to the Canadians, helping companies to do business with Canada, visa services.
The Indian-born Canadian defence minister who is on a seven-day visit to India from April 17, later held a meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at Chandigarh airport, officials here said.
Yesterday, Sajjan had paid obeisance at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and also visited the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society on the outskirts of the city, where he met under-privileged children. Later that afternoon, he visited a girls’ orphanage in Jalandhar.
Sajjan also went to his native village of Bambeli in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab where he was accorded a warm welcome by the villagers.
Ahead of the Canadian defence minister’s visit, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said he would not meet Sajjan and described him as a “Khalistani sympathiser”. Sajjan, however, rubbished Amarinder’s allegation that he is “pro-Khalistani” and said he would not get into any petty politics with the Chief Minister.
He also downplayed the Ontario legislative assembly recently passing a motion describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide” in India.
(With PTI inputs)