February 26, 2018 11:21 am
Updated: February 26, 2018 9:09 pm

Roy Green: Indian government didn’t want Trudeau visit, journalist says

WATCH ABOVE: Prime Minister Trudeau's tour to India may have wrapped up but the questions haven't. The federal government is under even more pressure to explain the many missteps on his trip. Who is being held accountable? David Akin reports.


This week, New Delhi-based journalist Shivam Vij wrote a column for the Washington Post titled “Why India is being really rude to Justin Trudeau.”

Vij was my guest on the show on Saturday. He was blunt, stating India did not particularly welcome a Justin Trudeau visit at this time, but the Canadian government insisted.

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The Modi administration, Vij said, has concerns about what appears to be a somewhat cozy relationship with the Sikh separatist movement and the Liberals — and the presence of Jaspal Atwal, convicted of the attempted murder of a moderate Indian politician, only served to heighten those fears.

READ MORE: No one vetted a convict invited to Trudeau dinner in India; questions emerge on why India lifted his travel ban

An invite extended to Atwal, later revoked, to an official function hosted by Canada’s High Commissioner to India was upsetting to Indian officials, particularly after a photograph of Atwal standing beside Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau surfaced.

Did Trudeau’s visit negatively impact the Indo-Canadian relationship? “Absolutely,” Vij said.

The conversation might be dismissed by some as the opinions of one journalist, but the lack of enthusiasm for Trudeau’s visit in India was unmistakable. The ongoing controversy was recorded by daily headlines across that country.

LISTEN: Shivam Vij joins The Roy Green Show

There was also the unwelcome giggling at Trudeau’s choice of attire, clothing Vij dismissed outright as outfits he wouldn’t wear to his own wedding — and Indian weddings are certainly colourful occasions.

A similar response to the PM’s visit echoed at home in Canada — Trudeau was ridiculed and dismissed by callers to my program from five different provinces. Even an Indian immigrant who expressed his love for his new homeland coupled that with doubts about the prime minister.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: How Justin Trudeau’s India trip went from bad to ‘Bengal Bungle’

It was blatantly obvious to Indians that Trudeau’s tour wasn’t simply about improving Indo-Canadian relations and trade, but rather attempting to appeal to the Indian diaspora in Canada, Vij pointed out.

While there were many misfires during the Canadian PM’s Indian adventure, nothing continues to reverberate more negatively than the presence of a convicted terrorist and the half-witted notion expressed by a senior Canadian bureaucrat that Jaspal Atwal’s presence may have been traceable shenanigans by the Indian government.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Corus Radio network.

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