Amid tensions over Nijjar killing allegations: Modi, Trudeau briefly interact at G7 summit - Hindustan Times
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Amid tensions over Nijjar killing allegations: Modi, Trudeau briefly interact at G7 summit

Jun 15, 2024 09:51 PM IST

The meeting was not on the official schedule of either PM. A photo of the two leaders together, neither smiling, was posted by Modi on X. “The Prime Minister congratulated PM Modi on his re-election and the leaders had a brief discussion on the bilateral relationship,” a spokesperson for the Canadian PMO said in a statement cited by the outlet Globe and Mail.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a brief interaction with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G7 leaders’ summit in Apulia, Italy, on Friday, marking the first meeting between the two leaders since the latter’s statement in the House of Commons on September 18 last year that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia three months earlier.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the G7 summit in Apulia, Italy, on Friday. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the G7 summit in Apulia, Italy, on Friday. (ANI)

The meeting was not on the official schedule of either PM.

A photo of the two leaders together, neither smiling, was posted by Modi on X. “The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his re-election and the leaders had a brief discussion on the bilateral relationship,” a spokesperson for the Canadian PMO said in a statement cited by the outlet Globe and Mail.

“Of course there are important issues between our two countries right now. You can appreciate that we won’t be making any further statements at this time,” the statement added.

Trudeau’s office had issued a statement on June 5 following the re-election of Modi to a third term. That statement had stated, “As bilateral and Indo-Pacific partners, Canada stands ready to work together to advance the relationship between our peoples – anchored to human rights, diversity, and the rule of law.”

Four days later, Modi had responded on X, “India looks forward to working with Canada based on mutual understanding and respect for each other’s concerns.”

The last time they had met in person was at the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi in September last year. It later emerged that Trudeau had raised the issue of Nijjar’s murder during that exchange. At the time, his PMO had said that Trudeau “raised the importance of respecting the rule of law, democratic principles, and national sovereignty.”

A statement from the External Affairs Ministry at the time stated that “mutual respect and trust” were essential for the progress of the relationship, while stressing on New Delhi’s “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada.”

Canada will host the next G7 leaders’ meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta, in 2025. India was invited as an outreach partner for the previous events in Italy, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. However, India had not been an invitee when Canada last hosted the summit in 2018 in Charlevoix, Quebec, in 2018.

PM holds talks with Biden

On the margins of the G7 summit in Italy’s Apulia region, Modi also had a separate interaction with US President Joe Biden.

The Modi-Biden conversation came nearly seven months after Washington’s allegations of an Indian link to a foiled plot to murder Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York.

India has already appointed a high-level probe team to investigate the allegations.

After his exchanges with Biden, Modi said India and the US will keep working together to further global good.

“It’s always a pleasure to meet @POTUS @JoeBiden. India and USA will keep working together to further global good,” the prime minister said.

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