Hug for Trudeau from Modi amid embarrassment over party invitation for convict

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, with a hug, a day after embarrassed Canadian diplomats had to revoke a party invitation for a man convicted of attempting to kill an Indian politician.

The invitation was the latest blunder in Mr Trudeau’s eight-day visit, which has included everything from criticism of his colourful wardrobe to questions about whether his government is sufficiently critical of Sikh extremists.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is greeted by Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as he arrives at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP)

Atwal was convicted of trying to kill an Indian Cabinet minister during a 1986 visit to Canada. The minister was shot but survived. Atwal was jailed, but became a businessman after his release.

Canada quickly withdrew the invitation once it was discovered, with Mr Trudeau telling reporters: “Obviously we take this situation extremely seriously. The individual in question never should have received an invitation.”

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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Indian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP)

Mr Modi nevertheless welcomed Mr Trudeau on Friday with his signature bear hug, smiling at his wife and their three children, who also attended the formal outdoor ceremony.

In a tweet on Thursday night, Mr Modi said he was looking forward to meeting Mr Trudeau and his family, adding “I appreciate his deep commitment to ties between our two countries.”

But it has not been an easy trip for the Canadian premier in many ways.

He has been ridiculed in India on social media for his family’s seemingly endless wardrobe changes, with the photogenic group often appearing in colourful Indian clothing, and has faced repeated insistence that he denounce Sikh extremism.

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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and children, Xavier, 10 and Ella-Grace, 9, meet Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan in Mumbai (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP)

Canada has a small but politically potent Sikh population, some of whom support a breakaway Sikh state, known as Khalistan, inside India. The Indian media often describe Mr Trudeau’s government as being soft on the Khalistan issue.

Mr Trudeau insisted that he had told Indian politicians that was not true.

“I was pleased to be able to make very, very clear that Canada supports one united India,” he said after one meeting.

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