PM Trudeau may fly to Canada today after plane woes delayed his departure post G20
Trudeau and his delegation have been stranded in Delhi since they landed in the capital for the G20 Summit on Sept 8
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Airbus plane, which developed a technical snag on Sunday (September 10), has been resolved and is cleared to fly, an official said.
Trudeau and his delegation have been stranded in Delhi since they landed in the capital for the G20 Summit on September 8. They were supposed to fly back home a couple of days later. However, a snag in his plane forced Trudeau to prolong his stay in Delhi.
The prime minister and his entourage are expected to depart this afternoon, news agency ANI quoted Mohammad Hussain, Press Secretary of Canada PMO, as saying. Earlier, CBC News reported that the Canadian Air Force’s CC-150 Polaris plane, which was on its way to pick up Trudeau, was diverted to London. No reason was given for the unscheduled diversion.
The report said CC-150 Polaris may only leave London on Tuesday morning (local time). CBC News reported that as a fallback measure, a technician with a replacement part has also been sent to Delhi.
Trudeau stayed in his room in New Delhi’s Lalit Hotel after his Airbus plane developed the snag amid frosty India-Canada ties.
Earlier, sources had said that a ferry aircraft to fly the Canadian delegation back was expected to land at the Delhi airport at around 10 pm on Monday (September 11).
In an e-mailed statement to PTI, the Canadian Prime Minister's office said the Canadian Armed Forces are continuing their best efforts to get the 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," Press Secretary Mohammad Hussain said in the statement.
Trudeau’s India-related predicaments seem to continue from where they left off, and the problem with the plane is the latest.
During his first trip to India as the prime minister in 2018, there was a diplomatic goof-up when it was revealed that one of the people on Canada’s guest list for an event was a man who had been convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian politician on Canadian soil.
On this visit to India for the G20 Summit, the Indian Prime Minister Modi made a public statement that was critical of Canada for allegedly allowing extremist groups to carry out anti-India activities in Canada, which was an obvious reference to Sikh groups agitating for Khalistan.
There was no formal bilateral meeting between Trudeau and Modi during the two-day G20 event in New Delhi, and after a short discussion they had, the Canadian PM said they had discussed “foreign interference and respect for the rule of law”.
Canada’s national security adviser had earlier accused India of interfering in Canada’s affairs.
The technical issue with the plane also draws attention to the fact that Canada has not modernised its infrastructure.
The aircraft that ferry the country’s prime minister and top officials are Airbus A310s that were purchased in the 1980s and need to be replaced. It has caused problems earlier too. They are so outdated that they need to stopover in Alaska and Japan in order to refuel during Trudeau’s visits to Asia.
Trudeau’s main opponent, leader of the Conservative Party Pierre Poilievre, attacked the Prime Minister for mismanagement. “Now Trudeau gets to experience the same flight delays he has imposed on Canadians through his mismanagement of federal airports,” he wrote on social media platform X.
The government is now replacing the planes with Airbus 330s, but they are not yet ready for use.
The prime minister’s official residence in Ottawa is in such bad shape that Trudeau and his family have not stayed there since he became PM. Previous PMs refused to spend public money to do what was required, as a result of which the house is unfit to live in. The question now is whether it will be renovated or replaced with a new building.
(With inputs from agencies)