‘Comments by Canadian leaders on Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs’

New Delhi: India summoned the Canadian envoy after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks on the farmer protests, warning that “such actions will seriously damage ties”.

The Government of India conveyed to the Canadian High Commissioner objection to Trudeau’s recent comments and those by other parliamentarians, including ministers.

“Comments by Canadian leaders on Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs. Such actions, if continued, will have a seriously damaging impact on bilateral ties,” the foreign ministry said.

On Monday, speaking at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Trudeau had spoken in support of farmers in India and weighed in on the right to peaceful protest.

“Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest,” he had said.

He was the first world leader to comment on the protest by farmers who faced water cannons, tear gas shells and lathicharge by the police in Haryanaa and Delhi before they were allowed to protest peacefully in the national capital.

India had immediately responded saying the comment was “ill-informed” and “unwarranted”.

“We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes,” foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, besides many other states, have since arrived in Delhi in support of their demand to repeal three contentious laws on agricultural reforms.

The Indian government has held three meetings with 32 farmers’ representatives, but the discussion seems to have hit a deadlock.

Farmers have said nothing but a complete rollback of the laws and legal assurance to Minimum Support Price would be needed to end the “Delhi Chalo” protest – now in its 10th day.

The government has offered to amend the laws. Another meeting is due on December 5

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