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April 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         April 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Apr' 2018


What went wrong with Trudeau's visit ?

Justin Trudeau Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who visited India for a week, remained in controversy during his recent visit to India. There was no formal reception of him at the airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, nor by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. However, Trudeau, along with his wife and children, went to Agra, Mumbai and Sabarmati. In Mumbai he also met the Bollywood stars and businessmen.
The controversy about his visit to India started when the Canadian High Commissioner in India sent an invitation to Jaspal Atwal, an alleged Sikh terrorist settled in Canada. The Canadian High Commissioner had arranged a dinner for the visiting Prime Minister. When it was known that invitation had also gone to Jaspal Atwal, it was immediately rescinded. But the controversy continued to prevail.
Jaspal Atwal was convicted in an attempt to murder case in Canada when an attempt was made on Malkiat Singh Sidhu, a minister in the Surjit Singh Barnala Government during his visit to his relations in Vancouver. Although Sidhu survived that attempt, he was gunned down in Punjab during the militancy.
Trudeau got lukewarm reception in India because of alleged soft attitude of his Liberal Government towards sikh extremists . His visit to Amritsar on February 22 gained some importance when he visited Harmander Sahib to pay obeisance. He was given big welcome there by the SGPC authorities, including the President of the SGPC, Gobind Singh Longowal. He was presented a Siropa at the Harmander Sahib.

Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal It was during his visit to Amritsar that the Union Government deputed Hardep Puri, Minister of State to receive him at the Rajasansi Airport alongwith Nabjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Local Bodies Minister who was deputed on behalf of the Punjab Government to welcome him Sukhbir Singh Badal was not allowed inside the Harmander Sahib. He met Trudeau at the Library.
Trudeau had one to one meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at Amritsar in a hotel. In the meeting, which lasted for about an hour, Captain Amarinder Singh lodged a strong protest with Trudeau for Canadian support to the Sikh hardliners in Canada.
Amarinder Singh vehemently presented the Punjab case and gave him proof of support to hardliners in Canada who are allegedly funding the hardliners in Punjab. Trudeau had to feel sorry for the actions of the Sikh hardliners in Canada and assured Amarinder Singh that his government would never support such elements. Rather, he promised that he would take action against them. Amarinder was satisfied with his meeting with Trudeau.
Before arriving in India, Sikh ministers, including Harjit Singh Harsajjan, defence minister, and Navdeep Bains and Amarjit Sohi had declared that they had nothing to do with Khalistan. Only then Amarinder Singh had agreed to meet Trudeau. The Khalistani hardliners in Canada had been extending support to AAM AADMI PARTY in India. During the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections in 2017 a large number of them had come to Punjab to support the AAP. But the AAP failed to cut much ice and the verdict was treated as a rebuff to the hardliners.
On February 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Trudeau. During the joint press briefing Trudeau promised that his party and government would not extend any support to the hardliners. Six agreements were signed between the Canadian and Indian Governments.
However, the issue of invitation to Jaspal Atwal for the dinner at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner in India has not died down as yet. On his return to Canada, Trudeau has stated that the invitation to Jaspal Atwal was the handiwork of some 'rogue' elements.
The opposition conservative party in Canada has moved a motion in the Canadian Parliament opposing Khalistani terrorism and supporting united India.

-- K. S. Chawla