CANADIAN prime minister Justin Trudeau belatedly left India on Tuesday (12) after an aircraft breakdown forced a two-day extension of his rocky visit to New Delhi for the G20 summit.
Trudeau arrived in India for the meeting of the leaders of 20 leading economies last Friday (8) and was due to return last Sunday (10) after laying a wreath at a memorial to Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
However, a mechanical fault detected during pre-flight checks resulted in the grounding of his plane by the Canadian Armed Forces and he was stranded along with his entire delegation.
Air traffic tracker Flightradar24 showed Royal Canada Air Force plane CFC01 taking off from Delhi airport shortly after 1 pm local time (0730 GMT).
Trudeau’s press secretary Mohammad Hussain confirmed to AFP that the Canadian G20 delegation was aboard the flight.
Canadian broadcaster CTV said the Airbus CC-150 had a history of operational issues.
Since Trudeau did not have any further diplomatic engagements with the Indian government, he stayed at his hotel along with his 16-year-old son Xavier, media reports said.
Trudeau’s presence at the G20 summit was more muted than some of his G7 counterparts’ and came against a backdrop of tensions between his government and India over Ottawa’s handling of right-wing Sikh separatists.
New Delhi accuses Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the activities of radical Sikh nationalists who seek a separate Sikh homeland in northern India.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi expressed “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” during a meeting with Trudeau, according to a a statement from the Indian government.
Canada also recently suspended negotiations for a free trade agreement with India.
Trudeau later told media that Canada would always defend “freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of peaceful protest” while acting against hatred.