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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday arrived at the Amritsar international airport to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.
Union minister of state (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu received Trudeau and a delegation of Canadian ministers and MPs at the Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport at around 10:40 am.
At the airport, they were also accompanied by the Amritsar Commissioner of Police S S Srivastva and the Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, officials said.
Tight security arrangements have been made by the Punjab Police in Amritsar with over 1,500 cops being deployed in the holy city. Senior police officials including SSPs and DIGs, besides the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, have also been deployed.
The visit holds political and social significance in Canada as that country has a substantial Indian diaspora, a majority of them from Punjab.
Trudeau, according to police sources, had asked local authorities to let him and his family, including three minor children, to enjoy the spirituality of the Golden Temple during the visit.
Here’s what Canadian PM Justin Trudeau plans to do in Amritsar:
1. Trudeau paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, during his about an hour-long stay there.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Amritsar's Golden Temple with his family.
2. Shiromani Akali Dal Chief (SGPC) Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Gobind Singh Longowal will welcome the visiting prime minister at the Golden Temple.
3. The SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, has organised a special event in the honour of Trudeau. It will present him with a Siropa (robe of honour), a gold-plated replica of the Golden Temple, shawl, gold plated-kirpan (ceremonial dagger) and religious books at the information centre, an SGPC official said.
4.After paying obeisance at the 'Harmandir Sahib', popularly known as the Golden Temple, Trudeau will meet Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for a one-on-one meeting at a local hotel. The two are expected to discuss business as well as people-to-people ties.
5. The Canadian Prime Minister will also visit the Partition Museum.
The Punjab government has asked the state administration to roll out the red carpet to the dignitaries.
Trudeau is on a week-long visit to India. He is accompanied by wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and three children — Ella-Grace, Xavier and Hadrien.
‘Taking Punjab 20 years ahead’
Speaking to ANI, Sidhu expressed confidence that the meeting would not only strengthen the ties between both the countries but would also help to transform them.
"The 20-minute meeting between Captain Amarinder Singh and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can take Punjab 20 years ahead," Sidhu told ANI.
"It is a mutual symbiosis which can transform both the countries," he added.
The Congress leader earlier refused to meet Trudeau, claiming the Canadian Prime Minister's cabinet members were connected and supported the formation of Khalistan, a separate Sikh state movement.
Amarinder Singh in April last year during Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan's visit to India called the Canadian MP a 'Khalistani sympathiser'.
The Punjab Chief Minister felt Sajjan was advocating for the formation of Khalistan.
Government sources, however, said agenda "will remain open-ended". "We expext concerns and sensitivities from the Indian side to be conveyed appropriately. He will meet PM Narendra Modi for bilateral talks on Friday," said the sources.