India formally protests to Canada over Trudeau's remarks on farmers' protests

Published December 4, 2020
Trudeau, speaking to the Indian community earlier this week in Canada, said that he was concerned about the farmers, most of them from the Sikh-dominated state of Punjab, camped out on the outskirts of Delhi in a protest against farm reforms. — AFP/ File
Trudeau, speaking to the Indian community earlier this week in Canada, said that he was concerned about the farmers, most of them from the Sikh-dominated state of Punjab, camped out on the outskirts of Delhi in a protest against farm reforms. — AFP/ File

India summoned Canada’s ambassador on Friday and said comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over protests by farmers near Delhi were an interference in its domestic affairs and would seriously hurt bilateral ties.

Trudeau, speaking to the Indian community earlier this week in Canada, said that he was concerned about the farmers, most of them from the Sikh-dominated state of Punjab, camped out on the outskirts of Delhi in a protest against farm reforms.

The Indian foreign ministry said in a statement that comments on “issues relating to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs.”

India and Canada have warm ties, but in recent years there has been concern in India that some Sikh leaders in Canada have ties to separatist groups hostile to India.

Canada is home to an influential Sikh community and Indian leaders say there are some fringe groups there that are still sympathetic to the cause of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan, carved out of India.

The Indian foreign ministry said comments made by Trudeau and other leaders had emboldened radical groups and they were a risk to its diplomatic staff based in Canada.

“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,” it said.

There was no comment from the Canadian embassy.

The formal protest by the Indian foreign ministry comes in the wake of similar comments made earlier in the week by External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, who criticised “some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India.”

The comment was made in apparent reference to Trudeau's remarks. Without naming the Canadian prime minister, the spokesman said his comments were "unwarranted, especially when pertaining to internal affairs of a democratic country,” and that "It’s also best that diplomatic conversations aren’t misrepresented for political purposes.”

The Indian government has held talks with the farmers to end the impasse and persuade them that farm reforms were in their interest in the long-term.

Opinion

Editorial

Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...
Debt deferment
Updated 26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

Pakistan’s dollar funding needs for next 5 years have never been so large and world’s appetite to hold its hands never so poor.
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...