Despite mounting criticism, PM Justin Trudeau is standing by a senior government official who suggested factions within the Indian government were involved in sabotaging the prime minister’s visit to India.
During his first question period since arriving back in Canada, opposition MPs grilled Trudeau about invitations issued to Jaspal Atwal — a B.C. Sikh convicted of attempting to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 — to attend two events with the prime minister in India.
In a background briefing arranged by the Prime Minister’s Office, a government official suggested that Atwal’s presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who want to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from getting too cozy with a foreign government they believe is not committed to a united India.
Conservatives are identifying the official as Trudeau’s national security adviser, Daniel Jean, and they’re pressing Trudeau to say whether he agrees with Jean’s “conspiracy theory.”
Trudeau is defending the official as a professional, non-partisan public servant who provides quality advice.
He says when a top diplomat and security official says something “it’s because they know it to be true.”
However the Indian government on Wednesday said it had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at an event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai and any suggestion to the contrary is “unacceptable and baseless”. refuted this theory.
“Let me categorically state that the government of India, including security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian High Commissioner’s reception in New Delhi. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told the media in New Delhi. – CINEWS