Taj Mahal to Golden Temple, Trudeau Wraps First Leg of India Trip

Ties between New Delhi and Ottawa have been frosty in recent times as Canada is being seen as offering a platform to separatists demanding an independent Khalistan. In the first leg of their weeklong visit, Justin Trudeau and his family visited Agra, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Amritsar. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi “snubbed” his counterpart with not a welcome statement or a tweet. He did not even accompany him to Ahmedabad, and a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at Amritsar was organised only at the last moment. In the last leg, however, Trudeau will come face to face with Modi.

    • Captain Amarinder Singh handed over a list of nine Canada-based operatives to Trudeau on Wednesday
    • The operatives are alleged to have been involved in hate crimes in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities
    • Trudeau, in turn, assured the Punjab Chief Minister his full cooperation
    • As the Khalistan issue loomed large, Trudeau and his family visited the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, among others

"Canada Doesn't Support Separatist Movements," Trudeau Says to Punjab CM

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday met visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Amritsar. Both leaders discussed the strong bond that exists between the two places, largely due to an influential Punjabi community settled in the western nation.

Besides the Trudeau-Amarinder meeting, which remained uncertain till Monday evening, the other highlight was the Chief Minister meeting Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, who was born in Punjab's Hoshiarpur district and is the first Sikh to handle the defence portfolio of a western country.

Amarinder had refused to meet the Canadian Defence Minister in April 2017 during the latter’s visit to the state and even dubbed him and other ministers of Punjab-origin in the Trudeau government as “Khalistani sympathisers”.

On Wednesday, the Chief Minister not only met Sajjan, but also shook hands with him and both leaders smiled at each other.

The Amarinder Singh government went all out to accord a red carpet welcome to Trudeau and his entourage, including his wife and children, during their four hour trip to the Sikh holy city of Amritsar.

Trudeau arrived in Amritsar from Mumbai on Wednesday morning and offered prayers at the Golden Temple complex, at the holiest of Sikh shrines in the 'Harmandir Sahib'.

"Filled With Grace and Humility," Trudeau at Golden Temple

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his family at the Golden Temple.

Trudeau paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrine, during his hour-long stay there. The Canadian premier then also visited the Partition Museum.

Trudeau even penned a message in the visitors’ book at the Golden Temple.

Trudeau Arrives in Amritsar

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu received Trudeau and a delegation of Canadian ministers and MPs at the Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport at around 10:40 am.

At the airport, they were also accompanied by the Amritsar Commissioner of Police SS Srivastva and the Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, officials said.

Tight security arrangements have been made by the Punjab Police in Amritsar with over 1,500 cops being deployed in the holy city. Senior police officials, including SSPs and DIGs, besides the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, have also been deployed.

Amarinder to Meet Six Accompanying Canadian Ministers

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s office said that he will meet the six Canadian ministers after a one-on-one meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Notably, Minister of State Hardeep Puri will also be present.

Meet Can Take Punjab 20 Years Ahead: Sidhu

Congress leader and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who will receive Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in Amritsar, said that the meeting had the potential to propel the state 20 years into the future.

"The 20-minute meeting between Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau can take Punjab 20 years ahead. This visit will strengthen relations between the two countries, and is a mutual symbiosis which can transform both the countries." - Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu

Trudeau Meets Maharastra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Justin Trudeau met with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai after the India-Canada Business Forum.

Both leaders promoted business, investment and cultural ties between Maharashtra and Canada, India's High Commissioner to Canada, Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.

Trudeau Holds Roundtable Conference with Women Business Leaders

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced more than $1 billion in commercial contracts and agreements between Canadian and Indian companies, which will create over 5,000 jobs. Trudeau made the announcement after meetings with industry leaders including Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran; Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla; Mahindra group chief Anand Mahindra; Salil Parikh of Infosys, and Cyrus Mistry of the Pallonji Mistry group, among others.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Chairman of Tata Sons, Natarajan Chandrasekaran
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Salil Parekh, CEO and Managing Director of business consulting and IT corporation Infosys
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by Minister Navdeep Bains, meets with the Chairman of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Co-Chairman of Jubilant Bhartia Group, Hari Bhartia
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Shapoorji Pallonji Group board member Cyrus Mistry

The Canadian premier also had a 90-minute roundtable with women business leaders including ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar and Swati Piramal of the Piramal Group, among others at the iconic Taj Mahal hotel.

"Coming out of meetings this morning and a few other meetings we have had, we are able to announce over 5,000 new jobs in Canada and over USD 1 billion of (Indian) investment in Canada." - Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the Canada-India Business Forum

Briefing about his interactions with the Indian business leaders, he said prospects of Canadian investments in India were also discussed, especially the role played by the pension funds of Canada.

The Canadian Prime Minister also spoke about the "extraordinary diversity" of this country and said "this pluralism comes with its own challenges but are immensely beneficial".

"There is extraordinary diversity and pluralism in India which is not without its challenges but we have to understand that diversity of views and background gives an incredible amount of strength, a source of resilience in any organisation, community or a country," he said.

Trudeau felt that a country like India can and should be leading the way in respecting diversity and highlighting this incredible diversity. "It is not just Canada that is diverse, but other countries around the world as well." Talking at length about the need for empowering women in all walks of life, he rued that India has only 26 per cent women participation in the world of business, saying this was one of the lowest globally.

"Business leaders should take the time to listen to women and empower them, because empowering women leads to good business and helps the community," Trudeau said.

Noting the huge amount of "compatibility and complementarity" between the two nations, the Canadian prime minister urged the leaders of both nations to work together for the common benefits of their people.

Trudeau Speaks at Canada-India Business Forum

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at the Canada-India Business Forum to talk about business ties and people’s connection with ICICI Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar.

The Canadian prime minister focused on people-to-people connection as he talked about business opportunities among both nations. Trudeau also talked about his visit with to India with his family.

Trudeau also said that being the two biggest democracies in the world (one by population and the other by surface area), both nations can achieve great things together.

He also announced that Indian Inc has committed $1 billion, to create 5,000 jobs in Canada.

"Canada Supports a United India": Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement on Monday, 19 February, affirmed that his government “equivocally” believed in and supported the policy of a united India. He reiterated that the position of his government in this regard “has not changed”, and that supporting a united India is core to the kind of nation Canada is.

The statement comes after political observers commented that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ‘snubbed’ Trudeau in response to his nonchalant stance on the Khalistan issue.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to Meet Trudeau on 21 February

Amid speculations of Trudeau’s meeting with Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister tweeted that he is looking forward to meet the Canadian Prime Minister on 21 February.

In the tweet, Singh said he is hopeful that the meeting will help strengthen ties between the two countries.

Trudeau Meets Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also met with the chief minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani.

According to the Indian High Commissioner to Canada, the talks were to advance partnership between Canada and Gujarat. Both leaders stressed on better business, investment and cultural ties between Maharashtra and Canada, India's High Commissioner to Canada, Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.

Trudeau left for Mumbai after his brief meeting with Rupani. Trudeau thanked the Gujarat CM on his hospitality in a tweet, saying that Canada and Gujarat already have strong connections in business, innovation and friendship. And the they are working to make them even stronger.

Watch: Canadian PM Trudeau Addresses Students at IIM-A

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed students of IIM Ahmedabad, as a part of his bilateral visit to India that began on 17 February.

Calling himself a feminist, Trudeau spoke about business ties, feminism, discrimination, immigration, media, and globalisation among other things while addressing students in IIM Ahmedabad.

"Any comments about how a man looks aren’t even an eyelash worth of the systemic discrimination women face on a daily basis." - Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, Canada

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau talking to students at IIM Ahmedabad.

Trudeau said he wants to put forward two issues at the next G7 (Group of Seven) summit – oceanic pollution, and gender.

Trudeau also spoke about the importance of engaging with the young people of the society.

"Why I try to engage with young people is because the decisions you (youngsters) make are going to derive the world we are going to live in."

To a question from the audience about immigration and the refugee crisis, Trudeau said:

"More countries need to do more to welcome immigrants not because that is the right thing to do, but because refugees who flee the persecution in their country for a better life in another, are extremely grateful to the country that welcomes them."

Akshardham an "Extraordinary Place of Peace", Says Trudeau

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has described Akshardham in Gandhinagar as an “extraordinary place of peace”. He made the comments in his note in the visitors book of the temple.

Trudeau Visits Sabarmati Ashram, Akshardham

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Monday, 19 February. He also visited the Akshardham temple in the city, accompanied by his family.

Trudeau Arrives in Ahmedabad

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau arrived in Ahmedabad on 19 February. He is scheduled to visit the Akshardham temple, Sabarmati ashram and the Indian Institute of Management in the city.

Being Able to Bring my Kids Along is Special: Trudeau

At the Taj mahal in Agra, the Canadian PM told reporters that it was a “special” moment for him to be able to bring his children along.

"For me, to be able to be here on an official trip while bringing my kids with me to share this, is really special and being able to enjoy this as a dad with my kids is really nice." - Justin Trudeau, Canadian PM

Candian PM Trudeau Arrives in India

#WATCH Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Delhi with his family for a week-long visit to India pic.twitter.com/swiAyKZHMN

— ANI (@ANI) February 17, 2018

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by his wife Madame Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and their three children, arrived in India on a state visit on Saturday, 17 February.

India Likely to Raise Issue of Growing Sikh Radicalism

India's concerns over rising Sikh radicalism in Canada are understood to have figured during a meeting between National Security Advisers of the two countries this week, and the issue may figure during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's talks with Indian leadership.

In response to a question on whether India will take up the issue of rising pro-Khalistan radicalism in Canada during Trudeau's visit, external affairs ministry indicated that it may be raised.

Canadian diplomatic sources, while talking about the meeting held between the two NSAs in New Delhi a couple of days ago to prepare the ground for Trudeau’s visit, indicated that New Delhi’s concerns over Sikh radicalism in Canada figured in the meeting.

"This is an important visit. All issues, which are of interest to us... which are of bilateral interests will be up on the agenda," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, when asked whether the issue will be taken up by India during Trudeau's visit.

The negotiators of both the countries met last week to overcome the hurdles in finalising the pact, the sources said, adding Canadian investments in India were around USD 15 billion in the last couple of years, and a free trade pact will further encourage investors from that country.

When asked about Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reportedly calling Canadian Defence Minister Sajjan as “Khalistani sympathiser” ahead of his visit last year, the diplomatic sources called the remarks “disappointing and inaccurate”.

On trade, the sources said Canadian investments in India were likely to decline in absence of a mechanism to protect them and Trudeau and Prime Minister Narendra Modi may deliberate, during their talks on 23 February, on making forward movement in firming up the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries.

Trudeau's Itinerary Includes Delhi, Agra, Ahmedabad, Mumbai & Amritsar

Besides his engagements in Delhi, Trudeau will visit Agra, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Amritsar. A number of key ministers in Trudeau's Cabinet including the defence minister, foreign minister, sports minister and trade minister will be part of his delegation.

18 February: Trudeau to visit the Taj Mahal, Agra, along with his wife and children.
19 February: Canadian PM to visit Gujarat, tour Sabarmati Ashram and Akshardham temple in Gandhi Nagar and participate at an event at IIM-Ahmedabad.
20 February: Trudeau to head to Mumbai to meet top business leaders and meet representatives of Indian Film industry to explore various opportunities in the field of cinema.
21 February: Stopover in Amritsar, where he is scheduled to visit the Golden Temple and return to Delhi the same day.
22 February: Trudeau to visit Jama Masjid and a cricket ground in Delhi besides delivering a lecture at a gathering of Canadian and Indian business leaders.
23 February: After holding wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Modi on 23 February, he is scheduled to address a conference of young change-makers before wrapping up his visit.

Defence, Counter-Terror Co-Operation on the Agenda

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's seven-day visit to India, starting 17 February, is aimed at intensifying defence and counter-terror cooperation besides expanding trade and investment ties.

The sources said the objective of the Canadian prime minister's visit here would be to expand the overall ties between the two countries with a focus on defence and security, counter-terror cooperation, trade and investment and tackling climate change.

Trudeau and Modi will hold wide-ranging talks on 23 February in Delhi.

Both sides are also expected to deliberate on enhancing cooperation in civil nuclear sector.

"This will be an opportunity for the PM to promote Canada- India cooperation on a range of issues and highlight Canada’s support for a strong, united, diverse India and to further strengthen the vibrant strategic partnership." - Canadian diplomatic source.

The ties between India and Canada have been on an upswing. Approximately 1.4 million Canadians are of Indian heritage and India is Canada's second largest source of immigrants.

Canada is also a leading education destination for Indian students, and India is the second largest source of international students, an estimated 1,24,000 in 2017, as per official figures.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

. Read more on India by The Quint. ‘He Should’ve Never Received an Invitation’: Trudeau on Atwal RowKhalistan Separatist Atwal’s Invitation to Trudeau’s Dinner Nixed . Read more on India by The Quint.