Canada's PM Justin Trudeau and PM Narendra Modi deliver a joint statement in New Delhi
New Delhi: With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by his side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent out a strong message today when he said at joint press briefing, "There should not be space for those who misuse religion for political motives and promote separatism. We will not tolerate those who challenge unity and integrity of our countries." Mr Trudeau's first visit to India has been clouded by talk of a frosty reception on account of the Canadian government's perceived soft approach to Sikh extremists demanding Khalistan. This morning, PM Modi met Mr Trudeau for the first time since he landed in India 5 days ago, greeting him with his signature bear-hug. They then held a two-hour long meeting, before their joint statement.
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this story:
- India and Canada signed six agreements today, including one on energy cooperation, after the two leaders held talks on key issues of counter-terrorism and extremism as well as on ways to boost trade ties.
- "We discussed many issues including defence co-operation. Terrorism and extremism are a threat to countries like ours and to fight these elements it is important for us to come together," PM Modi said after the meeting.
- Mr Trudeau described India as a natural partner for commercial cooperation. He also said, "We discussed strengthening people-to-people ties. Canada has 1.3 million people of Indian descent. We seek to uphold democratic traditions, pluralism and diversities."
- On Wednesday, the dinner invitation to Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal at a reception for Mr Trudeau at the Canada House in the national capital was cancelled. On Tuesday, he had attended an event in Mumbai and was photographed with Mr Trudeau's wife Sophie Trudeau and Canadian minister Amarjeet Sohi.
- The invitations proved a huge embarrassment to Canada and Mr Trudeau said he would take action against the person responsible for issuing the invitation to Jaspal Atwal, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for trying to kill a Punjab minister visiting Canada in 1986. Canadian parliamentarian Randeep Sarai has taken the blame and issued an apology.
- Mr Trudeau arrived in India alongwith his family on February 17 and has since then visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, Mahatma Gandhi's ashram in Gujarat's Sabarmati, addressed students at Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and met with Bollywood celebrities Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan.
- The absence of any welcome tweet from PM Modi -- who had broken protocol to receive several world leaders at the airport -- is seen as a snub. PM Modi had not accompanied Mr Trudeau during his visit his home state Gujarat either, a courtesy that was extended to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
- The visit of the 46-year-old Mr Trudeau -- who once remarked that he had more Sikhs in his cabinet than PM Modi -- is seen as an outreach to the Sikhs residing in Canada, who form a chunk of Mr Trudeau's domestic constituency. An estimated 1.4 million people of Indian origin are settled in Canada.
- On Wednesday, Justin Trudeau and his family visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest shrine for Sikhs. They offered Kar Seva and were seen trying to make rotis under the guidance of celebrity chef Vikas Khanna.
- The Canadian PM addressed a business summit in Delhi and visited the national capital's Jama Masjid on Wednesday. He also visited Modern High School's cricket grounds, where he and his three children tried their hands at batting.
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