(Ottawa) The government plane that was supposed to bring Justin Trudeau home has been stuck on the tarmac at New Delhi airport for more than a day, due to a technical problem. However, the prime minister is expected to take off late Tuesday afternoon local time, aboard the repaired aircraft, or on the wings of another that has been sent as reinforcement.
The Prime Minister’s stay in India was longer than expected, despite himself. Normally, the Canadian Armed Forces aircraft carrying him and the Canadian delegation was scheduled to fly Sunday evening to Ottawa, at the end of a difficult G20 summit.
But the plane never took off. “The Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris suffered a maintenance problem and is unable to transport the Prime Minister and the delegation home,” explained a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense, Daniel Le Bouthillier.
The problem detected before takeoff concerns “a component which will have to be replaced,” he said.
Another aircraft left the Trenton base on Sunday evening to go to India. According to the most recent update from Justin Trudeau’s office, a “possible departure” is planned “no earlier than late Tuesday afternoon (local time).” However, the situation remains “fluid”, it is indicated.
The CC-150 Polaris fleet includes the aircraft used to transport the Prime Minister of Canada, the Governor General and other senior officials and officials. This fleet has been in use since the early 1990s.
Last July, the federal government purchased nine new Airbus aircraft to replace the aging fleet of CC-150 Polaris, which is nearing the end of its useful life. One of these planes was delivered to Ottawa last month, but it is not yet ready for use.
It remains unclear what will happen with Justin Trudeau’s participation in the national Liberal caucus meeting, which is being held Wednesday and Thursday in London, Ontario. His office is expected to provide more details on this in the coming hours.
A laborious summit
The Prime Minister’s setbacks drew taunts from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. “Today, Trudeau is experiencing the same flight delays he imposed on Canadians due to his mismanagement of federal airports,” he wrote Monday on X (formerly Twitter).
The day before, the opposition leader offered this analysis about his opponent’s participation in the G20 summit in India: “Putting partisanship aside, no one likes to see a Canadian prime minister being humiliated and trampled on repetition by the rest of the world. »
His message covers a screenshot of the front page of the Toronto Sun where we see a photo of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who appears to be telling his Canadian counterpart where to go. “This is the exit: Trudeau discovers he has few friends at the G20 summit in India,” headlined the tabloid.
The Hindu nationalist leader was not kind to his guest either, telling him during a brief meeting of his “deep concerns regarding the continued anti-Indian activities of extremist elements in Canada,” according to the summary of the Trudeau-Modi interview from the Indian camp.
By “extremist elements”, we mean Sikh activists in favor of the creation of the State of Khalistan, which would notably include Punjab. “It’s a big stone in the shoe of Indo-Canadian relations,” summarizes Serge Granger, professor of political science at the University of Sherbrooke.
We also learned, before Justin Trudeau’s Indo-Pacific trip, that the negotiations for the free trade agreement had been put on ice, which reflects a “cooling off”, says Laurence Deschamps-Laporte, who was chief of staff of the Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne.
“No one will say” that the relationship between Justin Trudeau and Narendra Modi is “warm”, and that between Ottawa and New Delhi is “complex”, “thorny”, underlines the woman who is now scientific director of the Center for Studies and Research international students from the University of Montreal.
But India is essential, she insists.
Its “strategic importance and leadership (…) will only increase as India, the world’s largest democracy, becomes the most populous country on the planet and its economy continues to expand », It is also written in the government’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
With The Canadian Press
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