A photograph of Canada-based Khalistani activist Jaspal Atwal and Canadian PM’s wife Sophie Trudeau, that surfaced today, triggered what is being seen as a ‘diplomatic crisis’. In the latest development, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an effort to scatter the grey clouds over Indo-Canadian bilateral ties, has broken his silence over the incident. Trudeau has clarified on his wife’s photo with a Khalistani activist saying that the matter has been taken up seriously by Canada. He accepted that Atwal should have never got the invitation. Informing that ‘a member of Parliament had included’ Atwal’s name in the Mumbai event (where Sophie Trudeau was clicked with Atwal) held on February 20, he said,”as soon as we received the info we rescinded it”, as per news agency ANI.
Randeep S. Sarai, the Canadian MP, who pro-Khalistani activist Jaspal Atwal, has also apologised for the incident. His apology letter was shared on Twitter by a Canadian journalist Abigail Bimman. In his apology letter, he confessed his fault and agreed that he should have ‘exercised better judgement’.
#WATCH Canadian Minister Kirsty Duncan speaks about dinner reception invite to Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal, says, ‘this person of course shouldn’t have been invited.Invitation has now been rescinded. We are looking into how it happened.’ Refuses to answer further questions. pic.twitter.com/oR1QD9Q69C
— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2018
Meanwhile, Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar conducted a media conference clarified the Indian stance on the development. He said the issue was raised during the meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Responding to a question as to how Atwal got India’s visa, Kumar said, that the matter is being investigated assuring that he will ‘ascertain information from Indian Commission’. He also added that the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two nations was productive and talks were held on issues ranging from trade and investment, security and cyber security, energy, to people-to-people contacts.
EAM @SushmaSwaraj and Canadian Foreign Minister @cafreeland had wide ranging discussions on strengthening relations in trade and investment, security and cyber security, energy, people to people contacts and other relevant bilateral and regional issues. pic.twitter.com/FfIFx5AfB0
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 22, 2018
Earlier in the day, Canadian Minister Kirsty Duncan called the incident unfortunate admitting that Atwal should not have been invited. She also added that the Canadian side is looking into the matter.