There can be no denying that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's tour of India has been a low profile affair so far. From his arrival to visits across the country, it is quite clear that prominent leaders have not shown much keenness towards Trudeau's visit.
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 yesterday, 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, fingers cannot be pointed at Modi for not having recieved Trudeau at the airport because official protocol does not dictate so. Until Rajiv Gandhi's tenure, the protocol was for the Prime Minister of India to greet visiting counterparts from other States at the airport. In 1984, in view of the increasing number of world leaders visiting India, the protocol was tweaked. The new protocol dictates that it is no longer mandatory for the prime minister to be at the airport. Instead, a junior official could easily carry out the task.
But, Modi has on many occasions set aside the protocol for a handful of world leaders.
There can be 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.