Trump Jr outshines Trudeau - that’s how bad India-Canada ties are
While US president’s son kept his mouth shut and stuck to business, Canadian PM turned himself into a joke who is either genuinely foolish or is cynically playing to his Sikh vote-bank in Canada
By Vir Sanghvi
26 Feb 2018
"Events have a way of surprising you. When it was announced that Donald Trump Jr.and Justin Trudeau would visit India at roughly the same time, Indians prepared to see what gaffes the younger Trump would commit. Trudeau, on the other hand, was expected to wow India with his charisma and youthful charm.
"It simply hasn’t worked out that way."
"Trudeau’s Liberal Party is popular with Canada’s Sikh community and with those Sikhs who still harbour Khalistani sentiments. India has repeatedly complained about the Liberal Party’s willingness to associate with Sikhs who regard the bombers of the Air India plane as heroes. But Trudeau has not distanced himself from such figures and the Indian government believes that some Sikh legislators still support Khalistan.
"Such foolishness was enough to make sure that no one in a position of authority in India took Trudeau seriously. But things got worse when a photo of Trudeau’s wife Sophie with a man called Jaspal Atwal emerged. The photo was taken at an event in Mumbai where Atwal also posed with Amarjeet Soni, a Canadian minister who was part of Trudeau’s delegation."
"Atwal, a former member of a Khalistan terror group, was convicted by a Canadian court of trying to murder an Indian minister in Vancouver in 1986. And yet, here he was, posing happily with the Canadian leader’s wife. Worse still, it emerged that Atwal had also been invited to the official reception for Trudeau at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.
"The Atwal incident confirmed everything New Delhi had suspected about the Liberal Party’s links with Khalistani terrorists and an embarrassed Trudeau rescinded the invitation which he described as “unfortunate” without actually condemning Atawal’s terrorist background.
"Why had the Canadian golden boy disappointed his many admirers and pushed India-Canada relations into the abyss? The short answer appears to be: given a choice between relations with India and more votes from Canadian Sikhs, Trudeau will take votes over foreign policy anytime even if, in doing so, he seems like a cartoonish lightweight. Even Donald Trump Jr outshone him; a turn of events nobody could have predicted."