Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his delegation encountered unexpected travel disruptions in New Delhi as their aircraft experienced technical issues, prolonging their stay in India. This incident marked an inconvenient conclusion to Trudeau’s trip, which had already included criticism from the Indian government.
Trudeau, accompanied by government staff and journalists, was scheduled to depart India following the Group of 20 (G20) summit. However, the exact timeline and arrangements for their departure remained uncertain. A statement from Trudeau’s office stated, “These issues are not fixable overnight, our delegation will be staying in India until alternate arrangements are made.”
Earlier during the summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns to Canada about alleged support for Sikh secessionist groups within Canada. India’s Foreign Ministry highlighted its “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada,” emphasizing the connections between these groups and organized crime, drug trafficking, and human smuggling. India stressed the importance of bilateral cooperation in addressing such threats.
Relations between Canada and India have been strained, with the leaders not holding a formal bilateral meeting during the G20 summit. Nevertheless, during a brief conversation, they discussed foreign interference and “respect for the rule of law,” according to Trudeau.
Of note, certain separatist Sikh groups in Canada have organized a referendum aimed at determining whether regions in India with a Sikh majority should gain independence. India labeled a protest outside its High Commission in Ottawa as an “attack” and initiated an investigation.
Canada recently launched a public inquiry into foreign interference in its national elections, focusing on various state and non-state actors, including China, Russia, and India. Indian officials have long accused Canada of harboring Sikh separatists advocating for an independent Punjab in northwestern India.
Trudeau emphasized Canada’s commitment to defending freedom of expression and peaceful protest while condemning violence and hatred. He underscored that the actions of a few individuals should not be equated with the entire Canadian Sikh community or the nation as a whole.