Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the poster boy for the global left, is wrapping up a disastrous trip to India that saw him mocked for being "too Indian for an Indian" and ended with him trying to explain why a terrorist that once tried to assassinate an India politician was invited as Trudeau's guest to a diplomatic dinner in New Delhi.
The visit was supposed to use Trudeau's global celebrity status to sell Canada to India as a place to invest and do business, but based on media coverage in India, he may just have turned off 1.3 billion people. From the time he arrived with his wife and three young children in tow, Trudeau adopted the traditional dress and customs of India more suitable to a Bollywood movie than modern day India.
Omar Abdullah, a member of the legislature from northern India criticized Trudeau's fashion sense and pandering on Twitter.
Is it just me or is this choreographed cuteness all just a bit much now? Also FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood. pic.twitter.com/xqAqfPnRoZ— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 21, 2018
Even Trevor Noah and The Daily Show got in on the act.
But while there is much to laugh at when it comes to Trudeau being "too Indian" there was a much more serious story breaking. Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm first reported that one of Trudeau's guests at a reception with Bollywood film stars and a man that was slated be a guest at a high profile diplomatic dinner was the gunman in a plot to kill an Indian cabinet minister in the 1980s.
Jaspal Atwal was convicted of attempted murder in 1987, after shooting moderate Sikh politician Malkiat Singh Sidhu, who at the time was visiting family on Vancouver Island.
He’s is a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), a militant group fighting to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India that was banned in Canada and designated a terrorist organization in 2003.
The problem with the invitation to a would-be assassin is further complicated by the fact that the Indian government already thinks Trudeau and his government are too soft on Sikh separatists who not only want their own homeland but have resorted to terrorism in the past to push the issue. After trying to assure his hosts this was not the case, Trudeau invited such a man to dinner.
Trudeau blamed the incident on a low-level member of his party, rescinded the invitation and called it all "unfortunate." But unfortunately for him multiple photos have surface showing Atwal meeting Trudeau several times, meeting members of his cabinet and other high-ranking members of the Liberal Party.
It turned a foreign trip from a mild joke into a disaster, even turning former fans into critics like prominent Indian journalist Barka Dutt who wrote in The Washington Post that Trudeau needs to stop:
I confess, from afar, I used to be a Trudeau fan-girl. But after this trip, I’ve changed my mind. Trudeau has come across as flighty and facetious. His orchestrated dance moves and multiple costume changes in heavily embroidered kurtas and sherwanis make him look more like an actor on a movie set or a guest at a wedding than a politician who is here to talk business. Suddenly, all that charisma and cuteness seem constructed, manufactured and, above all, not serious.
While Dutt wants Trudeau to stop pandering and get serious, after this trip, many Canadians would be happy if he just stayed in India.