Justin Trudeau India’s Visit: Putting a stop to the buzz over the Indian government ‘snubbing’ the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to India so far, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today (February 23), welcomed his Canadian counterpart to the Rashtrapati Bhavan with his signature hug. Earlier, many media reports suspected whether Modi, otherwise known for his ‘hug diplomacy’ (hugplomacy), would extend the same courtesy to the Canadian PM or not. The reason being this speculation was the controversy around the Canadian government’s alleged soft approach towards pro-Khalistan activists. It was only yesterday when PM Modi broke his silence over Canadian PM Trudeau’s first state visit to India. Prime Minister Modi, on Thursday, tweeted, “I look forward to meeting PM @JustinTrudeau tomorrow and holding talks on further strengthening India-Canada relations.” Appreciating Trudeau’s deep commitment to ties between the two countries, Modi also posted a throwback picture of him with Trudeau and his daughter Ella-Grace, during his 2015 visit.
Since February 17, the day of Trudeau’s arrival in India, Modi has maintained silence on his visit, something that is seen contrary to his approach towards world leaders otherwise visiting India. The Canadian PM was received by a state minister when he arrived at New Delhi airport, triggering speculation about Modi cold shouldering his Canadian counterpart. Past visits by global leaders have usually seen Modi meeting leading heads of government at the airport with bear hugs. Furthermore, Modi was even absent during Canadian PM’s visit to his home state Gujarat. Adding meat to the rumour was social media-savvy Modi’s silence on Twitter, where he enjoys 40.5 million followers. The Indian government, however, has denied any “snub” to the Canadian dignitary and maintained that Trudeau has been accorded all courtesy as per protocol.
I hope PM @JustinTrudeau and his family had a very enjoyable stay so far. I particularly look forward to meeting his children Xavier, Ella-Grace, and Hadrien. Here is a picture from my 2015 Canada visit, when I’d met PM Trudeau and Ella-Grace. pic.twitter.com/Ox0M8EL46x
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 22, 2018
Trudeau’s visit, which was already drawing flak back home, took a turn for the worse when a photo of Trudeau’s wife Sophie along with a convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal surfaced in the media. The matter sparked a massive controversy, prompting Trudeau to give an explanation. The incident was also taken up during the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two nations that took place yesterday.
However, today’s bilateral meet between the heads of the two states has come as a breath of fresh air. PM Modi hugged Trudeau and also met his daughter Ella-Grace. A ceremonial welcome was also accorded to the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at Rashtrapati Bhavan.