Almost a week after Justin Trudeau arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took to Twitter and said that he is looking forward to meeting the Canadian Prime Minister tomorrow. It was widely reported earlier that the Union Government had 'snubbed' Trudeau. Questions had also been raised about Trudeau being given a lukewarm response on his arrival in India.
I hope PM @JustinTrudeau and his family had a very enjoyable stay so far. I particularly look forward to meeting his children Xavier, Ella-Grace, and Hadrien. Here is a picture from my 2015 Canada visit, when I'd met PM Trudeau and Ella-Grace. pic.twitter.com/Ox0M8EL46x— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 22, 2018
I look forward to meeting PM @JustinTrudeau tomorrow and holding talks on further strengthening India-Canada relations in all spheres. I appreciate his deep commitment to ties between our two countries.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 22, 2018
Some had raised questions after Prime Minister Modi had not received the Canadian PM. A customary tweet from the PM welcoming the dignitary was also missing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi usually breaks protocol to go to the airport to receive important heads of government. But in case of Trudeau, the receiving minister was MoS Agriculture Ganjendra Singh, not even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or her two deputies Gen VK Singh or MJ Akbar.
Justin Trudeau, who is accompanied by his wife Sophie and their three children, visited the Taj Mahal earlier this week, but for some reason Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was conspicuously missing. Barely a month ago, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Taj, the UP CM personally showed him around.
However, MEA officials clarified that there was no snub as is being reported. The government has gone by the book, the official also said. On being asked if the response was in reaction to the Khalistan issue, the official said that as per protocol the PM does not go to the airport to receive dignitaries. It is only when the situation merits it is there is a departure from the protocol, the officer also explained.
There could have been two possible explanations for lukewarm response from Indian administration to Canadian Prime Minister's visit.
The first one is the presence of some Sikh ministers in Trudeau's cabinet who are seen as pro-Khalistani movement. Trudeau has four Sikh cabinet ministers - Harjit Sajjan, Amarjeet Sohi, Navdeep Bains and Bardish Chagger. Some reports say that Harjit Sajjan and Amarjit Sohi have both supported radical Khalistani elements in Canada. Many say that the Centre's seemingly lack of interest in Trudeau's visit is an indication of India not particularly pleased with Canadian Cabinet ministers with alleged links to the Sikh separatist movement.
Another reason, as reported by News 18, is the planning of the trip itself. 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.