Indian Prime Minister snubs Justin Trudeau, lays red carpet for Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr.’s visit to India on February 20 for an unofficial tour to promote his family's real estate interests in India has clearly drawn attention away from the simultaneous trip made to the country by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The US president’s eldest son had the red carpet rolled out for him upon his arrival, with an elaborate advertising campaign and tickets for a gala dinner with Trump Jr. auctioned off to high rolling Indian.

Donald Trump Jr. also gave a speech alongside India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spent a considerable amount of time in Trump Jr.'s presence, despite the latter's visit being deemed an "unofficial" visit.

On the contrary, Trudeau’s arrival to the country with his family has largely gone amiss from newspapers and among politicians too, with PM Modi being conspicuous by his absence when the head of the State of Canada landed in India on Saturday.

So far, the family has been pictured at the Taj Mahal and wearing traditional dress at Mahatma Gandhi's community hermitage in the state of Gujarat.

For Trudeau's arrival, Modi sent a junior minister to meet him at the airport, with Indian news channel NDTV reporting that the only high profile politician Trudeau has met so far is the chief minister of the state of Punjab, Amarinder Singh, on February 21.

"The optics don't look good," Vivek Dehejia, a senior fellow at Mumbai-based think tank IDFC Institute, told CNN of Modi’s decision not to greet Trudeau and his family at the airport.

"All you can see are the Lonely Planet-style pictures of his family at the Taj Mahal and in Gujarat, but he's not had a single official event,” he added.

All this "is creating a perception that this a lower-level relationship, that this is a less important relationship to India," Dehejia, who is also an economics professor at Carleton University in Canada, explained further.

Trudeau, for his part, has dismissed suggestions of an existing friction between himself and Modi, with the two heads of their respective states set to meet on Friday, notwithstanding suggestions of the evident political snub is linked to Canada’s sympathy for Sikh separatism.

Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow at Delhi-based think-tank Brookings India, agreed with the analysis that Modi's apparent snub for Trudeau definitely holds meaning.

"This is quite clearly a strong signal that India is very unhappy with the Trudeau government for its approach to this (separatist) issue," Jaishankar told CNN,  though he warned that the relationship was 'multifaceted' and operated on many levels.

However, India's former ambassador to Canada Vishnu Prakash quashed the suggestions that Trudeau was being ignored, describing the situation as "a storm in a teacup."

"I'm a little puzzled frankly, by the basis of which this is being said, there's no departure from protocol," Prakash, told CNN, adding that Trudeau is an 'esteemed guest.'

Global National Correspondent Abigail Bimman tweeted: “I asked ‪@JustinTrudeau for his response to the suggestion he hasn’t been given a warm welcome by the Indian government - met by a jr. minister at the airport & wasn’t accompanied by PM Modi to his home state Gujarat today.”

"He responded he met with Modi very recently," she added.

What do you think?

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Tarunika Rajesh


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