Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a tense exchange with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his trip to India for the G20 summit in New Delhi and was later lambasted by the Indian press for comments he made while there. 

The two leaders shared a curt handshake during the G20 summit and only briefly sat down to speak with one another on the final day of the summit. 

Modi also hosted a gala dinner among other events, which Trudeau was not in attendance for.

Trudeau told reporters that he addressed alleged election interference by India during their sit down, however Modi made no mention of it when reflecting on their conversation with Indian media and was more concerned with Sikh protesters in Canada.

Modi posted a video montage of his reception of visiting dignitaries to the G20 summit, but left out Trudeau.

Relations between Canada and India have cooled since Trudeau was elected, especially after his public support for Indian farmers protesting against the Modi government.

Canada is home to the highest Sikh population outside of India and many Sikhs want to separate from India and have their own independent state, known as Khalistan. 

Modi had strong words for Trudeau regarding Sikh protesters in Canada, according to Reuters

The issue has been a bone of contention more recently, following a float in a parade that depicted the 1984 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The float was seen as a glorification of this act and caused a stir between the two nations in June. 

“They are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship,” said a statement released by the Indian government.

Trudeau spoke at a press conference in New Delhi and responded by saying that Canada will always defend,  “freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and peaceful protest,” 

“At the same time as we are always there to prevent violence, to push back against hatred,” said Trudeau, adding that certain actions by a few “do not represent the entire community or Canada.” 

Trudeau’s remarks were scoffed at by members of the Indian media as many found his statements to be hypocritical in the wake of Trudeau’s handling and suppression of the Freedom Convoy protesters in February 2022, where he used brute force to disperse the crowds and froze the bank accounts of those who donated to the protest. 

The prime minister’s departure from India was also delayed due to issues with the Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris plane after a part needed to be replaced before the plane could fly again, according to a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence. 

On Mondays press secretary Mohammad Hussain said that, “The Canadian Armed Forces continue their best efforts to get the Canadian delegation home. We will keep you updated regularly as the situation evolves,” 

“Their latest update shows an earliest possible departure of Tuesday late afternoon. The situation remains fluid.” 

There have been numerous mechanical problems with the aircraft, originally built in the 1980’s. The part that requires replacement is being brought over by a technician who is currently en route to India via a commercial airline, according to CBC

A replacement plane, departing from Rome was sent to pick up Trudeau, however it has since been diverted to London, England, according to the prime minister’s office. 

The plane is now scheduled to leave London for India on Tuesday morning. 

Trudea will continue to work out of his New Delhi hotel until his return can be organized, according to the prime minister’s office.