Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally left India on Tuesday after an aircraft breakdown caused a two-day delay in his visit to New Delhi for the G20 summit. Trudeau initially arrived in India for the summit on Friday and was originally scheduled to return home on Sunday after paying his respects at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial.
However, a mechanical issue discovered during pre-flight checks led to the grounding of his plane by the Canadian Armed Forces, stranding him and his entire delegation. The Royal Canada Air Force plane, CFC01, took off from Delhi airport shortly after 1 pm local time (0730 GMT), carrying Trudeau’s G20 delegation, as confirmed by his press secretary, Mohammad Hussain.
According to Canadian broadcaster CTV, the Airbus CC-150 aircraft had a history of operational problems. Since Trudeau had no further diplomatic engagements with the Indian government, he remained at his hotel along with his 16-year-old son Xavier.
Trudeau’s participation in the G20 summit was less prominent compared to some of his G7 counterparts, and it occurred amid tensions between his government and host India concerning Ottawa’s handling of right-wing Sikh separatists. India accused Canada of ignoring the activities of radical Sikh nationalists who seek a separate Sikh homeland in northern India.
During a meeting with Trudeau, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada,” as stated by the Indian government. Canada also recently suspended negotiations for a free trade agreement with India. Trudeau later emphasized Canada’s commitment to defending “freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of peaceful protest” while taking action against hatred.