By Malini Menon
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traveled to the holiest site of Sikhism in northern India on Wednesday where government leaders said he assured them his country won’t support anyone trying to revive a separatist movement in India.
Canada is home to an influential Sikh community and Indian leaders say there are some fringe groups there that are still sympathetic to the cause of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan, carved out of India.
Trudeau visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest Sikh shrine, and later met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and addressed the concerns of his hosts, the state leader said.
“I am very impressed with my meeting with the prime minister. I raised the issue of Khalistan, because that is our primary issue,” Singh said, adding he had received a categorical assurance from Trudeau.
“His words are a big relief to all of us here in India and we look forward to his government’s support in tackling fringe separatist elements,” he said in a Tweet.
Former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi sent the military to the Golden Temple to flush out separatists at the height of the revolt in 1984. A few months later, Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards at her home in Delhi.
Indian media reports suggested that Trudeau, who is on an extended tour of India along with wife and children, had received a lukewarm reception because of concerns that he was a bit soft on Sikh extremist groups in his country.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Nick Macfie)