A fresh controversy rocked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to India on Thursday after Canadian authorities first extended invitation to Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal to attend an official dinner reception in New Delhi and later cancelled it apprehending strong reactions from India.
Trudeau told reporters in New Delhi prior to a speech at the Canada-India Business Summit where several hundred Canadian and Indian business people were gathered that it was wrong to issue the invitation. "The person and department responsible will take full responsibility for his actions", Trudeau said.
Although Trudeau himself dodged questions in the morning, the Prime Minister, according to a CBC news report, said at a business meeting in the capital that "obviously, we take this situation extremely seriously". He was apparently part of a banned radical Sikh militant group.
Eventually, it would be revealed that the trade deal is actually $750 million of investment leaving Canada for India with $250 million coming back to Canada in return.
It is unclear how Atwal was able to wrangle a visa to visit India.
Trudeau had waved off these suggestions and said he looked forward to the talk with Modi on Friday.
Canada has a large Sikh community and Mr Trudeau's cabinet includes four Sikh-Canadians.
Atwal was a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, an organisation outlawed in India and Canada, among other places, that seeks an independent Sikh state of Khalistan.
Modi's perceived cold-shouldering of Trudeau appears to have been prompted by the support the Canadian Prime Minister allegedly receives from the Khalistani movement. "We have, we have been very strong on that and we'll continue to be", said Trudeau. "We will have to see how this happened", he said adding they would also go into whether he got an e-visa or otherwise. Furthermore, controversy has overshadowed the 46-year-old PM's maiden state visit to India, owing to his administration's perceived support for Sikh separatists.
Let's play smart and leverage India's huge market, growing worldwide status and people-to-people ties between India and Canada to get Ottawa to see things our way.
"Even if he was on a black list at some point of time, there have been instances when names have been removed in the past on the recommendation of the Punjab government". For, given the rising tide of protectionism in the USA and Europe, Canada remains the one place that is still open to liberal trade and investment, and free movement of people.