Written by Meir Edery || Edited by Jennifer Hua
At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canada’s Justin Trudeau travelled to India with his family. The state visit was intended to strengthen existing ties between the two nations by, according to Trudeau, connecting the Indian and Canadian leaders through both business and government.
Trudeau landed in India accompanied by his wife and children. Once there, the family dressed in traditional clothing and visited the Taj Mahal. Contrary to the usual timely reception, Trudeau was made to wait seven days before receiving Modi’s famed bear hug. Some people consider this delay as a sign of weakening bonds between the two nations, while others believe Trudeau was being ignored. Another group, however, attributes the late welcome to issues with Sikh separatists.
- Over 1,000,000 Canadians are of Indian heritage, representing 3.6% of the population.
- Canada is home to 468,000 Sikhs. A small minority of these, unlike Prime Minister Modi, support Khalistan, which is the idea that there should be a separate state created for Indian Sikhs.
- Trudeau has 4 Sikh-Canadians in his Cabinet.
- Last year, Trudeau appeared at a Sikh event in Toronto where separatist flags and posters were being displayed.
- Trade between India and Canada stood at around $6 billion in 2016.
- A militant Sikh separatist –who was convicted for attempted murder of an Indian politician – had been invited to at least two
- Canadian government-linked events.
- When Trudeau realized this, he began to defend a theory speculating that the invitation had been an elaborate scheme orchestrated by factions of the Indian government to humiliate him.
- Support for Trudeau and the Liberal Party at home has dipped to an all-time low since the 2015 election, mainly because of dissatisfaction with Canada’s recent international representation.