On Wednesday the Indian government made it clear that they were very upset about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s defense of his official who said that their recent visit to India was sabotaged by the Indian government.
The Canadian High Commission hosted an event for Justin Trudeau and his family in Mumbai, where Jaspal Atwal was photographed with the prime minister’s wife. Jaspal Atwal is a Canadian Sikh who was convicted in 1986 for the attempted assassination of a Punjab minister. After the photo of Atwal and Trudeau’s wife was sent to the press, it was discovered that Atwal had received a second invitation for another dinner reception being held by the Canadian High Commission in honour of Justin Trudeau. There was so much backlash that the invitation was rescinded.
All of this happened only a day before the prime minister of Canada was set to meet with the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. There had already been negative press since the day Justin Trudeau and his family arrived, with people saying that Modi did not meat Trudeau at the airport because he was unhappy with the prime minister’s connections and comments about the Sikh separatist organizations.
Standing by top Official
The thing that set off the new feelings of anger by the Indian government was Trudeau’s comments about a story that came out in The Toronto Star this week, which had an unnamed official who said : “Atwal’s presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who want to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from getting too cosy with a foreign government they believe is not committed to a united India.” Trudeau then came out in defence of the official during a meeting of Parliament. When asked by a member if Trudeau stood by what the official said, his response was that when a top official says something to Canadians, it is because they know it to be true.
In response to Trudeau comment, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, Ravish Kumar, said: “The foreign ministry had seen the recent exchange in the Parliament of Canada regarding two invitations issued to Jaspal Atwal by the Canadian high commissioner, for functions hosted in honour of the Canadian Prime Minister in India. Let me categorically state that the Government of India, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian high commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian high commissioner’s reception in New Delhi. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable.”
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.