New Delhi: Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, who is born in Punjab and is the first Canadian cabinet minister of Indian origin, on Monday began his maiden visit to India during which he will meet top Indian leaders.

Sajjan will be meeting his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other leaders and senior officials during his week-long visit.

On his first trip to India since becoming Canada's Defence Minister, Sajjan said: "This visit will further strengthen Canada and India's bilateral defence cooperation, and expand our partnership in the security and defence sectors."

High Commissioner Nadir Patel, who is also of Indian origin, said: "Minister Sajjan's visit is an ideal opportunity to highlight strong links between Canada and India, and to boost our people-to-people ties. There continues to be enormous potential for more cooperation in all areas of the bilateral relationship."

Sajjan is also slated to visit Punjab, where he will visit the Golden Temple and also inaugurate the new consulate in Chandigarh. This part of his visit has come under controversy with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh having announced his decision not to meet the Canadian dignitary, whom he has termed a "Khalistani sympathiser".

Sajjan will visit Mumbai, where he will meet business and industry leaders.

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