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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 38 September 16, 2023

Mystery behind Trudeau’s delayed departure | Faraz Ahmad

Saturday 16 September 2023, by Faraz Ahmad


[Special on September 19, 2023]

Mystery shrouds the 36-hour delay in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s departure after the G20 summit held here in New Delhi from September 8 to 10, with visible diplomatic implications for Indo-Canadian relations.

Trudeau arrived here on September 8 and was scheduled to fly back home at the conclusion of the Summit on September 10. He was accompanied by his son Xavier, 16. Trudeau had separated from his wife Sophie Gregorie barely a month ago and his three children now live with the father. In this visit therefore Justin Trudeau did not come with his wife as in the past, but with his 16- year-old eldest son.

Trudeau has come to India earlier too along with wife Sophie and children, all donning traditional Punjabi attire. Of late a section of the Sikh community in Canada have been agitating against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged perpetuation of majoritarian Hindutva agenda. On its part India has dubbed all these demonstration as inspired and organised by ‘Khalistani’ elements, meaning those Sikhs settled abroad, mostly in Canada seeking a separate Sikh state Khalistan in Punjab. In June this year a Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen was gunned down by two masked men outside a Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia. While Canadian Mounted Police (CMP) has so far not caught the two alleged killers, it suspected the hand of some Indian agent, with the support of Indian High Commission in Canada.

Trudeau told the Canadian Parliament on September 18 that the Canadian government had “credible allegations” to link India with Nijjar’s murder and that he personally took it up with Narendra Modi during the G20 summit and protested alleged Indian interference in Canada’s internal affairs. He said he also brought this up with both US President Joe Bidden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, both of whom were reportedly unhappy with Trudeau souring the G20 summit characterised by bonhomie and camaraderie between all the attending heads of states and other world leaders. Along with this he announced expulsion of a top Indian Diplomat and in return India too expelled a top Canadian diplomat.

Soon after the summit concluded on Sunday, September 10, Trudeau’s official aeroplane was grounded here due to some “technical snag.” Indian government sources said India offered an Indian VIP plane to fly Justin Trudeau back home. But the Canadian Prime Minister rejected the offer and insisted on flying back in his official plane only. That seemed to have caused the delay.

An Indian digital platform called the TFI Global, describing itself as ‘Right Arm Round the World Fast’ run by one Atul Mishra from NOIDA, film city with visible right-wing leanings, alleged on its portal that sniffer dogs discovered substantial amount of drugs in the Canadian Prime Minister’s plane. It also said that in those 36 hours that Trudeau spent in New Delhi he was not allowed to go out anywhere or meet anyone, presumably by the Indian government.

TFI Global connected the Canadian Prime Minister’s delayed departure to “strained relations between India and Canada, with New Delhi raising concerns about Canada’s reluctance to take action against Khalistani elements within its borders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his apprehensions to Trudeau regarding the continued activities of Khalistani elements in Canada” TFI Global report stated.

“The unusual aspect of Trudeau’s plane snag was the prolonged delay in identifying the specific technical issue, a process that typically takes only hours. Additionally, Trudeau was prevented from participating in any public events during this time, adding to the mystery surrounding the situation. It is indeed perplexing that the nature of the problem and the restrictions placed on Trudeau’s movements were not in line with standard procedures,” TFI reported adding “According to multiple sources, the Canadian aircraft faced departure denial due to the discovery of a significant quantity of drugs onboard, creating a drug-related angle to the incident. Airport sniffer dogs reportedly detected a substantial amount of drugs on Trudeau’s plane, leading to the cancellation of his departure. Additionally, Trudeau was unable to engage in any public activities or tours within India during this time.,” The platform however concluded by stating that “In the absence of concrete evidence, we cannot definitely affirm the accuracy of the reports concerning drugs on Trudeau’s plane. Yet, the question lingers: were there drugs on Trudeau’s plane?”

It is evident that this right-wing platform is making unsubstantiated allegations of presence of drugs in Trudeau’s plane and is pleased that he was virtually detained in India for 36 hours. It is evident that Trudeau was detained in India to teach him a lesson for confronting Modi publicly on what he considered alleged Indian interference in Canada’s internal affairs.

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