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Is Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Getting Snubbed on His India Visit?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi usually breaks protocol to go to the airport to receive important heads of government. No such welcome was given to Justin Trudeau who is accompanied by his wife Sophie and their three children.

Zakka Jacob | CNN-News18

Updated:February 19, 2018, 3:57 PM IST
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Is Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Getting Snubbed on His India Visit?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his family at Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati. (Image: Gaurav Shah)
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There’s a lot of chatter in the Canadian press about how their rockstar Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is undertaking his first official visit to India, is getting snubbed by the Indian establishment.

As has become the norm now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi usually breaks protocol to go to the airport to receive important heads of government. He did it last month for his good friend Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu. He famously did it when Barack Obama came to India as chief guest for Republic Day in 2015.

No such welcome was given to Trudeau who is accompanied by his wife Sophie and their three children. The receiving minister was MoS Agriculture Gajendra Singh, not even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or her two deputies Gen VK Singh or MJ Akbar. Not the kind of reception befitting a rockstar. PM Modi and Sushma did not even tweet any welcome message for the Canadian premier.

One reason why Trudeau has been cold shouldered is the apparent support he and his government have been giving to pro-Khalistan voices in Canada. Two of four Sikh ministers in Trudeau’s cabinet Harjit Sajjan and Amarjit Sohi have both supported radical Khalistani elements in Canada.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had openly called this out by writing an angry letter to Trudeau soon after assuming office last year. The Canadian side has even reportedly refused an audience to Amarinder when Trudeau visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday.

Even on Sunday when Trudeau visited the Taj Mahal, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was conspicuously missing. Contrast this with the way Adityanath rolled out the red carpet for Netanyahu last month.

So far the highlight of Trudeau’s trip has been his youngest son Hadrien whose cutesy videos have gone viral on the internet.

Part of the reason why the Trudeaus are getting such a lukewarm response has to do with the way his trip has been scheduled. Usually most important visits begin with the ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan followed by the official bilateral meetings at Hyderabad House. Agra, Ahmedabad and Mumbai are usually reserved for the second half of any official visit. In Trudeau’s case, the opposite seems to be happening. His visit began from Mumbai on Saturday, Agra on Sunday, Ahmedabad on Monday, Mumbai on Tuesday, Amritsar on Wednesday and finally Delhi on Thursday and Friday. Surely the visit could have been planned better.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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