Committed to work together: Canadian PM Trudeau on meeting with PM Modi

Modi had posted an image on social media of the two leaders shaking hands on Friday, with a one-liner saying 'met Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the G7 Summit'.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 16:32 IST

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Bari, Italy: Amidst severe strain in bilateral ties, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that there was a commitment to work together with India to deal with some “very important issues” after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit.

Modi had posted an image on social media of the two leaders shaking hands on Friday, with a one-liner saying “met Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the G7 Summit”.

The meeting which took place on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Apulia, southern Italy, is the first amid strained diplomatic relations over pro-Khalistani extremism after Trudeau alleged that Canadian authorities are “actively pursuing credible allegations" related to Indian government involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist.

The Canadian allegations from last year were strongly rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as “absurd and motivated”.

"I'm not going to get into the details of this important, sensitive issue that we need to follow up, but this was a commitment to work together, in the coming times, to deal with some very important issues," Trudeau told reporters at a press conference in Savelletri Di Fasano in Italy on Saturday, the concluding day of the three-day G7 Summit.

The last meeting between the two leaders happened on the sidelines of the G20 Summit hosted by India in September.

Soon after the meeting on Friday evening, the Canadian Prime Minister's Office said the leaders had a "brief discussion on the bilateral relationship", during which Trudeau also congratulated Modi on his re-election.

"Of course, there are important issues between our two countries right now. You can appreciate that we won't be making any further statements at this time," spokesperson Ann-Clara Vaillancourt was quoted by the Canadian Press news agency as saying.

India has been maintaining that the main issue between the two countries is that of Canada giving space to pro-Khalistan elements operating from Canadian soil with impunity.

India has repeatedly conveyed its "deep concerns" to Canada and New Delhi expects Ottawa to take strong action against those elements.

Nijjar's murder is being probed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Four Indian nationals have been arrested in this connection by the RCMP.

Modi's meeting with Trudeau came at the end of a packed day of bilateral meetings for the Prime Minister, including with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni – the host of the summit. He also had discussions with other world leaders gathered for the summit, including with US President Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Modi joined leaders of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritania, Tunisia, Turkiye, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to address the Outreach session on Artificial Intelligence, Energy, Africa and the Mediterranean, along with Pope Francis, on the invitation of Meloni.

Published 15 June 2024, 16:32 IST

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