Not ideal G20 for Trudeau as Canada PM’s plane breaks down after Modi’s Khalistan rebuke
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at the Bharat Mandapam during the G20 Lleaders’ summit, at Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi on Saturday, September 9, 2023. (ANI Photo)
IT was a far from ideal ending to the trip to India for Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his delegation that came to India for the G20 summit after their plane developed technical snags, resulting in them remaining stuck in the Indian capital.
Along with Trudeau, the Canadian government staff and journalists accompanying him were set to depart from India on Sunday (10) night after the G20 summit concluded earlier in the day. But it was not immediately clear as to when and how they would return to Canada after the snag.
“These issues are not fixable overnight, our delegation will be staying in India until alternate arrangements are made,” a statement from the Canadian prime minister’s office said.
It also said that the Canadian Armed Forces informed them that CFC001 aircraft was facing technical problems.
This is not the first time that Trudeau’s plane has developed a snag. The plane in which he had travelled to India in 2018 had also suffered a similar problem.
The government of Canada’s CC-150 Polaris planes that also carry government officials and foreign dignitaries, are some of the oldest Airbus jets will be replaced in the next few years.
Trudeau reached India for the summit from Southeast Asia where he met leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Saturday (9), the inaugural day of the summit.
Modi criticises Canada on pro-Khalistan activism
Earlier, Trudeau’s meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the summit was marked by criticism by the latter at Ottawa for allegedly allowing pro-Khalistan groups to carry out operations in Canada.
During their talks, the Indian leader conveyed “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada,” the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement following the talks between the two prime ministers.
“The nexus of such forces with organised crime, drug syndicates and human trafficking should be a concern for Canada as well,” the ministry added.
“It is essential for the two countries to cooperate in dealing with such threats.”
Relations between India and Canada have been tense and Modi and Trudeau did not have a formal bilateral meeting at the summit. However, during their brief talks, they spoke over foreign interference and “respect for the rule of law”, the Canadian prime minister said.
While pro-Khalistan activism in Canada has stormed the headlines in recent months with even a tableau in Canada allegedly celebrating the assassination of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in June leading to sharp reactions from India, New Delhi called a protest outside its high commission in Ottawa the same month as an “attack” and its anti-terror agency was probing the incident.
The series of activities in Canada targeting India also made Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar alleged that the North American nation was allowing anti-India activities on its soil and warned that it was not good for its bilateral ties with India.
Indian officials have been long alleging that Canada has been too comfortable with Sikh separatists who want an independent Punjab carved out of northwestern India.
There have also been complaints from the Canadian side. Recently, Ottawa launched a public probe into foreign interference in the national elections held in the past, focusing on countries such as China, Russia and other actors, both state and non-state.
Trudeau’s national security adviser Jody Thomas called India a major source of foreign meddling in Canada.
Earlier this month, Canada also paused talks on a proposed trade treaty with India and it happened just three months after the two sides said they aimed to seal an initial agreement in 2023.
According to Trudeau, the issues of Punjab separatists in Canada and Canadian concerns about Indian interference in its affairs have come up in his conversations with PM Modi over the years.
“Obviously Canada will always defend freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, peaceful protest. That’s something that’s extremely important to us. At the same time as we are always there to prevent violence, to push back against hatred,” Trudeau said at a news conference in the Indian capital.
“It’s important to remember that the actions of the few do not represent the entire community or Canada.”
(With agencies inputs)