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Canada’s opposition leader to visit India to ‘repair ties damaged by PM Trudeau’

punjab Updated: Aug 29, 2018 10:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Toronto
Canada,Canada’s opposition leader,Toronto

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

The leader of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party will travel to India in October in what he described as an effort to “repair” relations with New Delhi.

A day after attending India Day celebrations in Toronto, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced the visit in a series of tweets. “Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India damaged this key relationship and we must now work to repair it,” he said.

He also stated that if he were to be elected Prime Minister in the federal elections scheduled for October 2019, he would “dramatically expand the strategic relationship between our countries and our people”.

While the visit will obviously have no formal bilateral status, Scheer is expected to meet several senior Indian politicians and businessmen during the October trip. He emphasised that the objective will be “to repair and strengthen Canada’s relationship with India, the world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest-growing economies”.

“India in recent years has transformed into a rising power in the vast Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Canada and India share symbolic and cultural bonds born from decades of migration and common political heritage,” he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s eight-day visit to India in February was panned in Canada for its duration and for various missteps that mired it in controversy, including an invitation to an official reception to Jaspal Atwal, a convicted former Khalistani terrorist, who was once convicted for an attempt to assassinate a visiting minister from Punjab in the 1980s.

The Trudeau government was left red-faced after a photograph emerged showing Atwal with the prime minister’s wife Sophie Gregoire at an official reception during the trip. Atwal, who had been convicted in 1987 on charges related to the attempted assassination of a visiting minister from Punjab, was also invited to an official reception for Trudeau in New Delhi but the invitation was later rescinded.

First Published: Aug 23, 2018 12:56 IST