Meeting Bollywood super star Shah Rukh Khan, dressed up in kurta pajama ( his wife in sari), looked out of place and the Indian media was quick to point out that Indians ( formally) wear a suit or a Nehru jacket. Then it was on to the Taj Mahal, pointing out that he was there before but not with father Pierre who was occupied with government business, but that he wanted to be there with his children ( he had no meetings with government officials as yet). Then it was on to Gujarat to visit the Mahatma's ashram ( P M Modi did not accompany him even though he is from that state). Next was a visit to the Golden Temple of the Sikhs ( this time dressed as a Sikh). There were no meetings scheduled with the Chief Minister of Punjab, who had raised concerns about the number of Kalastanis ( supporters of a separate Punjab), in Trudeau's cabinet). He as finally able to meet the Chief Minister and assured him that Canada supports a " united" India ( which of course re-opened the whole issue of Sikh separatism and the seemingly close ties of the Liberals to leading Sikh separatists, like Atwal.
Jaspal Atwal was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the attempted assassination of an Indian cabinet minister ( he admitted to have fired the shoes). Yet he was allowed a private meeting with Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau ( wife) and had photos taken with cabinet minister, Sodhi and had also been invited to a dinner held by Trudeau. This was when the media, Indian, Canadian and even CNN and BBC really got into it. Why was this criminal and Sikh separatist/extremist invited? Who invited him? Why was their no vetting by the PMO and CSIS and how was he able to travel to India ( he was banned)?
Trudeau loves to do the bangra and he not only attended Sikh's celebration in their temples but he was attended the Kalsa celebration held by Sihk extremists. Politicians of all stripes court voters in the ethnic communities but manage to stay away from trouble. Trudeau and the Liberals seem to be unaware, uninformed or downright oblivious.
This trip to India was more about votes than trade. Why? Because rather than visiting Bangalore, the center of technology ( where most international corporations flock to do business), he chose to visit Gujarat and Punjab, people from these Indian states make up most of the 1.4 million Indo-Canadians and live in vote-important Greater Toronto, and Vancouver, that are key to electoral success. So he dressed up , met celebrities, toured important cultural sites and danced.
This his third foreign fiasco. In China he tried to push his so-called " progressive" agenda and annoyed the Chinese and came home empty-handed. In Vietnam for the TPP meeting to finalize the agreement he angered the Japanese, the Australians and New Zealanders, when he decided at the last minute not to show up ( he was trying to send a message to China, which is not a member of TPP, that he was open to them and he screwed that up too).
India has a population of 1.3 billion, with a middle class of about 400 million and growing . It has an annual economic growth of nearly 7.5% and is opening up to the world and soon to be the third largest economy. We only have about $8 billion in trade with them, mostly in lentil and peas ( and India has recently imposed a high duty on them , because of the need to grow its domestic producers). There is an opportunity and it as been set back , because of political opportunism and poor leadership.
So Trudeau returns home almost empty-handed ( he claimed to have made $ 1 billion in deals but most of that is in India not Canada). He did make a splash, but it was not trade agreements or closer India/Canada relationship. It was his wardrobe.