Trudeau’s ongoing tour raises questions regarding India’s response


The less-than-warm welcome extended to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is on a week-long visit to India, has already raised speculations about New Delhi cold-shouldering the Canadian leader over the Khalistani separatist issue.

Observers noted that there was no official tweet from either Prime Minister Modi or External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj welcoming Mr Trudeau to India and neither did Mr Modi accompany the Canadian leader on his visit to Gujarat. The Indian government’s displeasure with Canada’s support to pro-Khalistani activities in recent years is well known.  Ahead of the visit to India, two of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers accompanying him had clarified that they did not sympathise with the demand of a separate Khalistan.

With an eye on expanding India-Canada business partnership, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be meeting top business leaders today in Mumbai, the third city that he is visiting after Agra and Ahmedabad. Apart from participating in a women business leaders’ roundtable discussion and a film industry event, he is also scheduled to meet with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The ongoing visit by Mr Trudeau is mainly directed at the large Sikh diaspora in Canada that will be a key player in the elections of 2019 in Canada. On February 18, the Canadian PM along with his family visited Agra. The next day he was in Gujarat where he visited the Sabarmati Ashram and Akshardham Temple. In his meeting with Gujarat CM CM Vijay Rupani, Mr Trudeau discussed cooperation in trade, investment, Start-ups, education etc.

Later in the day he had an interactive session with students at IIM Ahmedabad where he talked about Canada’s openness to immigration and trade. He also highlighted the challenges that have emerged on the agricultural front between India and Canada.

Mr Trudeau’s itinerary for the next few days includes a visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, followed by a meeting with Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh. OnFebruary 22, Justin Trudeau will visit the Jama Masjid and will also deliver a lecture before business leaders from Canada and India. The meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled for February 23 in New Delhi. The scheduling of the meeting with the Indian leader at the end of his week-long stay in India has raised some eyebrows since bilateral meeting are usually held during the first part of such visits.

Commentators back in Canada have also questioned the need for such a lengthy trip that is a drain on taxpayers’ money.  Moreover, the little time set aside for official engagements raises doubts about whether the trip will result in any substantial outcome.



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