Farmer Row: India Summons Canada Envoy, Warns of ‘Impact’ on Ties

Earlier this week, Justin Trudeau became the first international head of government to speak on the farmer protests.

2 min read
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is the first international head of government to speak out on farmers’ protests.

Amid intensifying protests by farmers against three contentious laws, India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Friday, 4 December, said the Canadian High Commissioner was summoned and “informed that comments made by the Canadian Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau), some Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament on issues relating to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs.”

“Such actions, if continued, would have a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada,” the MEA said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau became the first international head of government to speak out on the protests by farmers in India against the Narendra Modi government’s new farm laws.

On the occasion of Guru Nanak Dev’s 551st birth anniversary, Trudeau put out a video to wish Canadian citizens, particularly the followers of Sikhism, and said “I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognising the news coming from India about the protest by farmers.”

“The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends. We know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protesters. We believe in the importance of dialogue.” 
Justin Trudeau

Trudeau was not the only Canadian political figure to raise his voice for the protesting farmers. The New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, the Leader of the Opposition Andrea Horwath, members of Ontario's Provincial Parliament Gurratan Singh, Kevin Yarde, Sara Singh and Jack Harris have also spoken out against the Modi government.

India’s foreign ministry on Friday also said the comments by Canadian leaders have “encouraged gatherings of extremist activities in front of our High Commission and Consulates in Canada that raise issues of safety and security.”

“We expect the Canadian Government to ensure the fullest security of Indian diplomatic personnel and its political leaders to refrain from pronouncements that legitimise extremist activism,” the MEA said.


'Ill-Informed, Unwarranted’

On 1 December, hours after Trudeau’s remarks, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Shrivastava, had said that some comments made by Canadian leaders were “ill-informed” and “unwarranted, especially when pertaining to internal affairs of a democratic country.”

Srivastava had added, “It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes.”

Despite India saying that this is its “internal matter”, it is possible that international scrutiny could make it difficult for the Modi government to pursue an openly hostile approach towards the protesting farmers.

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