Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is this week visiting India, but the young politician — known for rock-star treatment on the international stage — is not getting much of a reception in the South Asian giant.
Media in the country has had its attention occupied by the scandal over the Punjab National Bank fraud case, and top officials have an ax to grind with the Canadian, experts said.
“Mr. Trudeau, I must, say is barely even in the news here,” Vivek Dehejia, a resident senior fellow at the IDFC Institute, an India-based think tank.
According to many commentators in the media, the Indian government is wary of Trudeau for his alleged ties to advocates for a separate Sikh homeland, called Khalistan, in the Punjab region.
In fact, Canada’s National Post notes that Trudeau’s cabinet has had four Sikhs in it, including one who an Indian official labeled a sympathizer to the separatists. The Canadian leader, the National Post says, once even bragged that his cabinet had more Sikhs in it than Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s.
“[The trip] is best described as a slow-moving train wreck … Very little substance has come out of it and very little actually will emerge from this visit apart from some nice photo ops,” Dehejia told CNBC on Wednesday.
Dehejia said he believes Trudeau’s visit was orchestrated to appease the significant Sikh population in Canada, making the international trip essentially about domestic politics. Trudeau’s schedule for his visit to India has been scrutinized for including only half-a-day of official state engagements in New Delhi.