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Canada PM Justin Trudeau expected to visit India in first quarter of 2018

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi having a packed schedule in January in terms of hosting heads of state and government, Justin Trudeau is expected to arrive in India in mid-to-late February.

world Updated: Nov 22, 2017 07:25 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times, Toronto
India-Canada relations,Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,Trudeau to visit India
File photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a visit to Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer, northwestern France, on on April 10, 2017. (AFP)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s long-awaited visit to India is likely to finally occur in the first quarter of 2018. However, while the Canadian government has communicated available windows for the bilateral summit, New Delhi is yet to confirm the dates.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi having a packed schedule in January in terms of hosting heads of state and government, Trudeau is only expected to arrive in New Delhi in mid-to-late February at the earliest.

Trudeau’s visit was expected to occur much earlier, but has been delayed several times. If the schedule that is now being discussed with the Indian government is confirmed, it may help ease some of the tension that has developed in the engagement between the two sides since a motion was passed in the Ontario legislature earlier this year terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide”.

New Delhi has been miffed with the Trudeau-led Liberal Party government for not preventing such an outcome, especially since the Ontario motion was moved by a Liberal member of the provincial parliament.

Ottawa, meanwhile, has repeatedly stressed that the federal Liberal Party, led by Trudeau, is different from that in the province, but India hasn’t taken too kindly to that argument.

A resurgence in pro-Khalistani activism in Canada since the Trudeau government assumed power in late 2015 has also been difficult to reconcile.

A visit by Trudeau, though, could put the good vibes back into the relationship, one that was evident prior to the Ontario motion.

The recent trip by three cabinet ministers to India, described as a “historic trade mission” by Global Affairs Canada, also served to set the stage for rejuvenating bilateral ties.

But the proposed visit will also mean that Trudeau will have to deliver on the flash, since headline deliverables may be scant.

Though Canada’s international trade minister François-PhilippeChampagne told the Hindustan Times earlier this month that a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA) is nearing completion, sources said India is unwilling to sign on to that in the absence of finalisation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Trudeau will be travelling to China in December and there is concern that if the spring visit next year does not materialise, then the chances of the two prime ministers meeting soon may grow increasingly faint since both governments will face parliamentary elections in 2019 and will have entered lame duck territory by autumn 2018.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 07:24 IST