Harjit Sajjan, an Indo-Canadian Sikh, was named Canada’s new defence minister on Wednesday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 30-member cabinet was sworn-in at a ceremony in Ottawa.
Harjit Sajjan, a decorated Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces who was elected as a MP for Vancouver South, is a combat veteran and has served in Bosnia and was thrice deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister on Wednesday before a packed crowd, almost 50 years after his father took on the job.
— Scott Deveau (@scottdeveau) November 4, 2015
Sajjan, who is part of Trudeau’s 30-member Cabinet that was sworn in during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, has received numerous military honours, including the Meritorious Service Medal in 2013 for reducing Taliban’s influence in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan.
“His approach, based on his knowledge of local culture and tribal dynamics, helped senior management to engage with influential Afghan tribal leaders, and led to the identification of insurgent command and control connection points,” according to the citation on the governor general’s website.
Sajjan, who is in his mid-forties, was born in India and moved to Canada with his family when he was five-years-old, CBC News reported.
As the new defence minister, Sajjan will work with Trudeau on reshaping Canada’s combat mission fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Canada’s incoming government has said it will withdraw fighter jets from the US-led coalition and stick to training Iraqi troops.