Justin Trudeau’s first trip to India as prime minister in 2018 was a complete disaster, including inviting a convicted terrorist to dinner. On his recent trip to the G20 summit, he looked back on his last trip and said, “Wait, my beer.”
Trudeau traveled to the G20 summit over the weekend, further deteriorating relations with India while distancing Canada from key allies.
Canadian Press photographer Sean Kilpatrick’s photo showed American President Joe Biden pointing the finger at Trudeau. Neither man appeared happy at the moment, both appeared tense, and Biden appeared to be lecturing.
There was the moment when Trudeau awkwardly pulled his hand away from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the official greeting. Trudeau tried to laugh off the moment when asked about it, but it was clear it was a problem.
This also applies to Canada’s overall relationship with India, which is a real problem. It seemed appropriate that his plane broke down and wouldn’t take off after the summit.
India is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. We have just launched a new Indo-Pacific strategy, but are now completely isolated from the region’s two largest economies, China and India.
It is understandable why the kidnapping of our citizens, election interference, harassment of Canadians of Chinese descent and economic warfare have alienated us from China. Trudeau isolated Canada from India for purely domestic political reasons.
India’s economy is almost twice the size of Canada’s and with its 1.4 billion people compared to our 40 million, in many ways we need them more than they need us.
Canada’s economy is stagnant, the International Monetary Fund puts our current growth at 1.5% and the OECD estimates we will decline to 1.4% or less. In comparison, India is currently at 5.9% and is expected to grow to 7% in the coming quarters.
When Stephen Harper was Prime Minister, Canada expanded trade with India. We not only supplied them with agricultural goods, but also with fertilizers and uranium for greenhouse gas-free nuclear energy.
Under Justin Trudeau, Canada recently halted negotiations on a new trade deal without explanation, while Britain is expected to complete negotiations by the end of the year. Saskatchewan accounts for 30-40% of all exports to India, and Prime Minister Scott Moe’s government sent a strongly worded letter to the Trudeau government asking for an explanation.
They never got one, nor did the Modi government in India.
What we do know is that Trudeau is philosophically opposed to Modi. However, on the world stage, you have to deal with all sorts of leaders whose views differ from your own.
Unfortunately, Trudeau sees Modi’s domestic politics as detrimental to his own political future and wants to not only stay at a distance, but also to get in his face.
Canada is home to perhaps the largest Sikh community in the world outside of India. The Modi government’s policies, including his crackdown on farmers’ protests beginning in 2020, were viewed as harsh, particularly within the Sikh community in India and Canada.
As he did at the weekend, Trudeau spoke out against them and in favor of the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.
It is not lost on the Indian media that Trudeau is preaching about peaceful protest and freedom of speech in India, not long after he used the Emergencies Act to disperse similar protests in Canada. It’s also not lost on them that he would be outraged if a separatist movement in Quebec were funded and supported by groups outside Canada.
This is what is happening now and one of the reasons why relations are so strained.
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True, the Modi government has cracked down on protests and minority groups. It is also true that some of the same criticisms can be leveled at Trudeau.
But given the power of the Sikh community in Canada, he is on their side, even if it hurts Canada economically.
Trudeau’s job is to represent the interests of all Canadians on the world stage, not just his own narrow political interests, which he appears to be doing.
https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/trudeaus-disastrous-india-trip-all-about-domestic-politics Trudeau’s second trip to India as prime minister is another disaster