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Justin Trudeau’s India visit did the unlikely: Bring bitter rivals Modi and Congress together

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Govt sources say after Amarinder briefed the Centre on Canadian politicians’ support for Khalistani separatists, it decided to fully support his stand.

New Delhi: In an unusual instance of political rivals joining hands to project a united diplomatic front, the Congress government in Punjab and the BJP-ruled Centre coordinated their actions to ensure they were on the same page when it came to taking on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his colleagues on the issue of their support to pro-Khalistan elements.

Sources within the governments in New Delhi and Chandigarh told ThePrint that Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh personally briefed the Centre on why he was unhappy with the open support being extended to separatist elements in Canada, following which the Centre decided to support his stand unequivocally.

It certainly helped that Modi and Amarinder had developed a very good equation in 2002-03 when both were chief ministers of Gujarat and Punjab respectively. Sources said Amarinder has maintained a “very warm” relationship with Modi over the years.

“They have a very good personal equation; they are good friends. But decisions like these, where foreign relations are concerned, aren’t taken on such considerations. They are taken because the interests of the nation are involved,” said a senior central government functionary who didn’t wish to be named.

A senior Congress leader also acknowledged the bonhomie that exists between Modi, who has made it his mission to turn India ‘Congress-mukt’, and the only Congress state satrap to withstand the BJP onslaught since May 2014. The leader said the party was “fully behind” Amarinder.

“We don’t believe in the BJP’s politics. But what is wrong if our CM has a good working relationship with the central government? The party is fully behind Captain Amarinder Singh,” said the Congress leader.

While no BJP leader was ready to come on record either, saying only the government would speak on the “sensitive issue”, a senior leader said: “The government of Narendra Modi knows how to ensure that the prestige of the country isn’t compromised. Working closely with state governments is in our DNA.”

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