The current predicament centers around a CC-150 Polaris aircraft, which is part of a fleet of modified Airbus A310-300 planes utilized by the Canadian armed forces for transporting VIPs.

What does a G7 country’s Prime Minister do when faced with an unexpected 36-hour stay in a foreign nation? Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, aged 51, made the decision to remain in his accommodations at New Delhi’s Lalit Hotel after encountering a technical issue with his Airbus plane. Complicating matters further was the recent coolness in India-Canada relations, highlighted by a terse statement from India expressing “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada.” Shortly thereafter, the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) hastily organized a Khalistan referendum at a gurdwara in British Columbia, Canada, a development that did not go unnoticed by the Indian government.

The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that they had not received any requests for additional official engagements, and the office of the Minister of State assigned to welcome Trudeau, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, also confirmed that his duty was solely to receive the Canadian Prime Minister upon his arrival at the airport. There were no indications of any local high commission engagements either.

Mohammed Hussain, the press secretary at the Prime Minister’s office, responded to HT’s inquiries, stating, “The Canadian Armed Forces continue their best efforts to get the Canadian delegation home. Their latest update shows an earliest possible departure of Tuesday late afternoon. The situation remains fluid.”

According to a source familiar with the details, “Both he and his son stayed in.” Trudeau’s 16-year-old son, Xavier, accompanied him on the trip, which included visits to Jakarta and Singapore before arriving in New Delhi. While the Lalit Hotel initially accommodated most of the Canadians and Japanese visitors, only around 30 rooms are currently occupied by the Prime Minister’s core team and accompanying media.

An airport official mentioned, “The flight plan for the ferry flight departing with the Prime Minister has not been received yet. However, the flight is expected to land at around 11 pm on Monday and depart by Tuesday afternoon.” Although the precise nature of the aircraft’s malfunction remains unknown, it has caused a bit of controversy back in Canada.

Commentator Tom Mulcair, speaking on CTV, referred to it as a “debacle” and criticized the government for not procuring new planes, resulting in “an embarrassing issue.” Delhi officials indicated that GMR Aerotech is examining the aircraft. The frosty bilateral relations and the technical glitch likely triggered a sense of déjà vu for Trudeau. In 2018, during a state visit to India, when similar issues were raised, the A-310 he was traveling on also experienced technical difficulties when departing for Delhi.

The aircraft at the center of this situation is a CC-150 Polaris, one of several modified Airbus A310-300 aircraft used by the Canadian armed forces for VIP transport. This specific aircraft, bearing the registration number 15001, is approximately 35.8 years old, according to flight tracking websites. While its age is considerable, it is not uncommon for aircraft used by world leaders. For instance, US President Joe Biden’s Air Force One planes, two VC-25As based on the Boeing 747, are over 36 years old.

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