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Trudeau, Modi shake hands on sidelines of G7 summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G7 Summit Friday. (Narendra Modi / X) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G7 Summit Friday. (Narendra Modi / X)
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit Friday, a brief encounter many experts were not predicting.

The two world leaders were seated around the same table Friday as Pope Francis gave a historic address to the summit on artificial intelligence. As the summit was coming to an end, Modi posted a photo to X, formerly known as Twitter, confirming the two had met sometime Friday.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the brief interaction happened on the margins of the G7 meeting.

"The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his re-election and the leaders had a brief discussion on the bilateral relationship," said Ann-Clara Vaillancourt, the director of media relations in the Prime Minister’s Office. "Of course there are important issues between our two countries right now. You can appreciate that we won’t be making any further statements at this time."

Modi was invited by Italy to observe at this year’s summit and to participate in an outreach session and official G7 dinner Friday evening. During the Pope’s speech, the two leaders were seated about six seats away from each other.

The Indian Prime Minister held a number of bilateral meetings with G7 leaders, but one with Trudeau was never on the schedule.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, walks past Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi's cremation site, during the G20 Summit in New Delhi, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)

This is the first time the two leaders have met, or been in the same room, since the fraught G20 summit in India last year. Days after returning from India, where his plane broke down and a return delayed, Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons and accused New Delhi of being involved in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

"Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar," Trudeau said in September, addressing the House of Commons about an "extremely serious matter.

Nijjar, a Sikh activist, was shot last June in Surrey and his death set off a wave of protests and rallies.

Last month, charges were laid against three Indian nationals in relation to the 2023 killing.

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