External Affairs Ministry told that such actions, if continued, would have a “seriously damaging” impact on the bilateral ties.
Comments from the leadership and other members of the Canadian government regarding the ongoing farmers agitation is “unacceptable interference” in India’s affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday. This message was conveyed to the Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel by senior Indian diplomats after he was formally summoned to the ministry and handed over a demarche in this regard.
“The Canadian High Commissioner was ..informed that comments by the Canadian Prime Minister, 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,” said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement that summed up the contents of the demarche issued to the Canadian High Commissioner.
Friday’s comment is tougher compared to the previous official statement issued on December 1 when India had avoided naming Prime Minister of Canada even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had expressed concern about the condition of the farmers in his Gurupurav message.
Mr Trudeau’s coalition partner Jagmeet Singh of New Democratic Party has made several public comments about the farmers agitation. In his message he had praised the farmers saying they are opposing “privatisation”. “As millions of farmers walk towards the Indian capital, they walk with this spirit (of Guru Nanak)”, Mr Singh had said on November 30. Another MP Jack Harris had criticised India’s handling of the protests and said “We are shocked” during the police action against the farmers.
The December 1 statement from the MEA had merely described the Canadian messages as “ill-informed”. However Friday’s demarche says the comments from the Canadian authorities “have encouraged gatherings of extremist activities in front of our High Commission and Consulates in Canada that raise issues of safety and security.”
The farmers agitation in India have found a strong echo among the Indo-Canadian community many of whom came from the north Indian plains. Various cities in Canada have witnessed drive by protests and gatherings by Indo-Canadians against the police action on the farmers near Delhi.
“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,” said the MEA in its statement.