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Justin Trudeau’s Delayed Visit to India
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s visit to India took an unexpected turn when a mechanical issue with his aircraft extended his stay in the country by two days. Originally scheduled to depart after the G20 summit, Mr. Trudeau’s departure was delayed due to an embarrassing aircraft snag, leading to mockery from both domestic opponents and Indian social media users. This delay came on the heels of a tense meeting between Mr. Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, further exacerbating the strained relations between Canada and India in recent months.
Strained Canada-India Relations
The visit failed to mend the frosty ties that had developed between Mr. Trudeau and India, as reported by India Today. Just days before his journey to Delhi, Mr. Trudeau surprisingly announced the suspension of talks on a trade treaty between the two nations. The ongoing protests by Canada’s significant Sikh population have been a major flashpoint in these tensions. India has expressed concerns about the activities of Sikh separatists and has denied any involvement in the murder of a prominent advocate of Sikh independence in British Columbia in June.
Concerns Raised During Meeting
During their meeting on Sunday, Mr. Modi raised concerns about the “continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada,” accusing them of promoting secessionism and inciting violence, as per his office’s statement. In response, Mr. Justin Trudeau’s team emphasized the importance of respecting the rule of law, democratic principles, and national sovereignty. Additionally, during a press conference, Mr. Trudeau revealed that he had discussed foreign interference in Canada’s affairs with Mr. Modi. Canada is currently conducting a sweeping investigation into election interference, with a focus on countries like China and Russia, and now including India.
Unusual Absences and Actions
Notably, Mr. Trudeau did not attend a weekend dinner for world leaders hosted by Indian President Droupadi Murmu, and reports indicated that his office did not provide a reason for his absence. Some observers also noted that he appeared quick to withdraw from a handshake with Mr. Modi during the visit. However, details about how Mr. Trudeau spent the additional two days in India remain unclear, as he had no further diplomatic engagements, and media reports suggest he may have spent the time at his hotel.
Both Mr. Trudeau and the Indian government have refrained from making public comments about the delay in his return home. Nevertheless, an Indian minister represented Mr. Modi’s government during Mr. Trudeau’s official send-off, conveying best wishes for a safe journey back home.
Aircraft Issue and Resolution
On Monday, the BBC received information from Canada’s Department of National Defence regarding the aircraft issue. Mr. Trudeau’s aircraft, a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CC-150 Polaris bearing the tail number ’01,’ experienced a “maintenance problem” related to a specific component that required replacement. The statement emphasized the RCAF’s commitment to passenger safety and the effectiveness of pre-flight safety checks. To retrieve Mr. Trudeau, a replacement aircraft was dispatched to India.
Previous Aircraft Travel Issues
The Toronto Star reported that an RCAF technician was sent to India and successfully resolved the issue. The CC-150 Polaris aircraft is part of an older fleet known to encounter maintenance problems, but it is set to be replaced in the near future.
This incident involving aircraft travel issues is not the first for Mr. Trudeau. In 2019, a plane carrying journalists collided with the wing of an aircraft chartered for his campaign trail. Fortunately, Mr. Trudeau was not onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident.
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