Canadian premier Justin Trudeau landed in India on Saturday as part of a week-long visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The visit is aimed at bolstering bilateral relations between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest trade and investment, energy, science and innovation, higher education, infrastructure development, skill development and, space, a ministry statement said.
Besides cooperation in security and counter-terrorism, exchange of views on global and regional issues of mutual interest will also form important components of the visit. Canada is home to around 1.4 million people of Indian origin.
Trudeau will hold wide-ranging talks with PM Modi on February 23, following which a slew of agreements are expected to be signed. Trudeau’s visit comes nearly three years after Modi visited Canada in April 2015. With PM Modi not receiving his Canadian counterpart at the airport, a courtesy he extended to some world leaders in the past, his visit has fuelled speculation that it was a snub to him for the rising Sikh radicalism in that country.
Here is a list of all the things Trudeau has done since arriving in India:
February 17: Canadian PM Trudeau landed at the Delhi airport and was accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and children Hadrien, Ella-Grace Margaret and Xavier James Trudeau. They were felicitated by the minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Indian ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup.
February 18: Trudeau started his week-long visit to India with a tour of the iconic Taj Mahal, which he had first seen 35 years ago. He accompanied by wife and three kids during the tour of white marble mausoleum on the banks of Ganga river.
Later, Trudeau along with his family paid a visit to rescued elephants at a care centre run by animal welfare organisation Wildlife SOS in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura and said that India’s wildlife needs protection. The 46-year-old Prime Minister and his family also fed the elephants and interacted with Wildlife SOS founders, veterinarians and caregivers.
.@WildlifeSOS is doing important work rescuing captive Asian elephants across India, and giving them a new chance at life. Thanks for the very warm welcome at your sanctuary today. pic.twitter.com/Ghy2zCV5ss
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 18, 2018
Trudeau then attended a dinner that was hosted by Canada High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel in a gesture towards welcoming the Canadian PM.
— Navdeep Bains (@NavdeepSBains) February 18, 2018
February 19: Draped in traditional Indian attire, Trudeau, his wife and three children landed in PM Modi’s home state Gujarat on Monday. They were received at the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport by Gujarat Minister Ganpat Vasava and State Chief Secretary.
The first engagement of the Trudeau family was a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram. After paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the Canadian Prime Minister tried his hand at the spinning wheel. Trudeau sported an attractive red bandhgala accompanied by a cream-coloured churidar and even a matching stole. Similarly, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau attired in a bright yellow long kurta which she teamed with white palazzo pants. She wore drop-down earrings, gold bangles and a little bindi to give her a completely traditional Indian look.
“A beautiful place of peace, humanity and truth that is as needed today as ever,” Trudeau wrote in the visitor’s book at the Sabarmati Ashram. The Canadian PM then proceeded to the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, following which he visited the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, for a town hall. The Canadian PM interacted with the students, taking questions and replying in great detail. Trudeau said Canada was open to immigration and asserted that the current bilateral trade of $8 billion in goods and $2 billion in services had potential to grow.
The Canadian PM will meet Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on Wednesday. “Look forward to meeting Canadian Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau in Amritsar on Wednesday. I’m hopeful that this meeting will help strengthen the close Indo-Canadian business ties as well as the deep-rooted people-to-people relations between our two countries,” Singh tweeted on Monday evening. In the past, Singh has alleged that some of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers are Khalistani sympathisers. He has also said that the Sikh community in Canada is a hotbed of Sikh separatists who support extremist elements.