Canadians believe India is snubbing their premier

According to protocol, it is a cabinet minister who receives a visiting foreign leader


News Desk February 19, 2018
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, their daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien and Xavier greet the media during their visit to Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, February 19, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in New Delhi for a week-long official visit Saturday evening with his wife and three children to be welcomed by a junior agriculture minister in the Indian government in what many interpreted to be a "snub" reported the BBC.

Despite photo opportunities at the Taj Mahal, the Canadian premier’s visit has been mostly ignored by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior members of the Indian establishment.

It has been noted that on many occasions PM Modi usually breaks protocol to go to the airport to receive important heads of governments personally and even hugs his foreign counterparts, as he did last month for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

No such welcome was given to Trudeau who has been in India for two days. The Canadian PM has not even received any welcome messages on Twitter from members of the Indian cabinet.

Some media reports also highlighted the fact that the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was conspicuously missing when Trudeau and his family visited Taj Mahal on Sunday, where the monument is located. PM Modi was also absent when Mr Trudeau visited his home state of Gujarat on Monday.

The social media frenzy that usually accompanies Trudeau's overseas travels has also been largely missing.

"Yes, this is a major snub. The fact that a junior minister was sent to receive Mr Trudeau and his family is most definitely a snub," columnist and economist Vivek Dehejia told the BBC.

So, is India cold shouldering Trudeau? Many Canadians believe so.

The reason for the lukewarm welcome according to Dehejia could be that members of the Canadian government are associated with the Sikh independence movement, the Khalistan movement, which seeks to create a separate independent Sikh homeland in the Sikh-dominated northern state of Punjab.

"His Liberal party relies heavily on the Sikh-Canadian vote bank and some of the Sikh members of his government are fellow travellers with the Khalistanis," said Mr Dehejia. Trudeau counts four Sikh-Canadians in his cabinet.

But India's former high commissioner to Canada, Vishnu Prakash, denied that Trudeau was being "snubbed," saying that India had closely followed diplomatic protocol when receiving him.

"According to protocol, it is a cabinet minister who receives a visiting foreign leader, and this courtesy was extended to Mr Trudeau," Mr Prakash told the BBC.

He said that although Mr Modi had "breached protocol" to personally greet foreign leaders in the past, he could not be expected to greet every visitor that came to India.

"It's not like the prime minister is not going to meet him at all. There is a ceremonial welcome that will be held for him on 23 February and he will meet him there," he added.

COMMENTS (2)

Mazo | 4 years ago | Reply @Sun Tzu: He can raise anything he wants - somebody needs to be there to listen to his blather . And the Rohingya have nothing to do with India - they are neither people of Indian origin nor people connected to India in any way shape or form. If giving sermons is the game - then India has a long list of sermons to also give Canada with respect to the treatment of First nations, the Canada-US pipeline through native lands, the Kaniska bombing of an Indian Airliner over Canadians skies which has gone unpunished even after 40 years. The list could go on but sermons are meaningless.
Sun Tzu | 4 years ago | Reply Sooner Trudeau gives up his left-wing bleeding-heart policies of "human-rights" for terrorists the better. Very well-deserved snub, if it were a snub. Let him raise poverty, caste, Rohingya, Mao, Ayodhya, and other issues in India - he will be promptly kicked out.
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