NEW DELHI, Feb 20, (Agencies): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met India’s corporate titans on Tuesday as he pursued a tour of the country marred by reports he has been snubbed by political leaders. Trudeau addressed a business conference in Mumbai on Tuesday morning, attended by leaders from the Tata conglomerate, IT giants Infosys and pharmaceutical major Jubilant Life Sciences. But Indian and Canadian media said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sidestepped his Canadian counterpart over the Trudeau administration’s perceived support for Sikh separatists and dealings with Sikh groups in Canada.
Canada is home to roughly half a million Sikhs and a significant number appear to back a decades-long Sikh campaign in India’s northern Punjab state for an independent homeland of Khalistan. Trudeau was received by a junior minister when he arrived at New Delhi airport on Saturday and by district officials when he visited the historic Taj Mahal monument in Agra the next day.
Modi often meets leading heads of government at the airport with bear hugs and cheerful photo-ops. He was again missing however when Trudeau visited Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Monday. The social media-savvy Modi, who has 40.4 million Twitter followers, is also yet to tweet a welcome message to Trudeau as he does customarily for other leaders.