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Published On: Mon, Feb 19th, 2018

Modi deliberately snubbing Canada’s Trudeau over Khalistan?

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story-canada-pm-newNEW DELHI : The eight-day long state visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India has gone through rough weather while Canadians consider that New Delhi is snubbing him over his perceived support to Sikh separatists.
When Trudeau landed in New Delhi on Saturday night, he was welcomed by Gajendra S Shekhawat, a much more junior minister than external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj or, probably, even either of her deputies – Gen V K Singh or M J Akbar.

However, they add it should also be remembered that when Modi visited Canada in 2016, he was also not received at the airport by Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau and his family have been in India for the past two days on their first state visit, but his official reception has been rather cold, which commentators attribute to his apparent support for Sikh separatists and the Khalistan movement clear.

In a clear departure from tradition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not personally receive him at the airport, instead sending a junior minister. This when Modi’s penchant for exchanging hugs with foreign leaders is well known.

Candice Malcolm, a columnist for the Canadian publication Toronto Sun, pointed out the stark contrast between the reception accorded to other leaders and that extended to Trudeau.

”On official state visits to India, PM Modi personally greets and welcomes the Israeli PM, UAE Crown Prince and US President. For PM Trudeau, he sends a low-ranking official,” Malcolm wrote, adding that Shekhawat’s rank is equivalent to a mere parliamentary secretary in Canada.
And on Sunday, as the Trudeaus went to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath did not bother to receive them. A month ago, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Taj, the UP CM personally showed him around. But all the Trudeaus got were the Agra district magistrate and some other local administrators.
But Modi has been uncharacteristically unenthusiastic so far in his reception of Trudeau. The Indian Prime Minister has not posted any welcome tweet on his Twitter handle so far, a courtesy he normally extends to all visiting dignitaries.
Moreover, Trudeau is in Gujarat today. But Modi did not plan a joint trip with him to his home state, an honour he has accorded so far to leaders from the US, Israel, China and Japan.

Many say that the Centre’s avoidance of pomp and ceremony is an indication of its displeasure with Trudeau for appointing cabinet ministers with links allegedly to the Sikh separatist movement.

Trudeau has four Sikh cabinet ministers – Harjit Sajjan, Amarjeet Sohi, Navdeep Bains and Bardish Chagger. Sohi said earlier this month that he’s neither sympathetic to nor against the Khalistan movement.
”Trudeau must denounce Khalistani extremists while in India & apologize to (Punjab) Chief Minister @capt_amarinder. And Jagmeet Singh should denounce Khalistani radicals.”We must stand against terrorism,” she tweeted.
So far, it appears Trudeau will be met with “about the same enthusiasm as (a) malarian mosquito”, as a Canadian policy advisor Bill Tufts described the low-profile reception Trudeau has got thus far.
According to Canadians, their PM’s visit to India could not create a ripple because New Delhi is very openly snubbing him over his perceived support for Sikh separatists in his country.

However, Malcolm believes Trudeau must denounce Khalistani extremists publicly, while in India, and should apologize to Amarinder. Another Canadian opposition leader, Jagmeet Singh, must also “denounce Khalistani radicals”, she added.

Till now, Canadian PM’s meeting with Punjab CM Amrinder Singh was not on card when he visits Amritsar later this week. However, Amrinder Singh has denied meeting with some ministers because they “have negative views regarding Punjab.” (With Agency Inputs ).

 

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