India summons envoy of Canada over Trudeau’s farmers’ stir comments

The external affairs ministry told the Canadian High Commissioner that their Prime Minister’s interference in India’s internal matter was “unacceptable”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invited India’s ire on Tuesday when he told a Facebook live video interaction, organised to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, that his government had conveyed its concerns over the farmers’ protest to New Delhi.

Days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau passed remarks on farmers’ protest in Delhi, India summoned Canada’s envoy Nadir Patel on Friday and told him that interference in India’s internal matters had the potential to “seriously” damage bilateral ties between the two countries.

Trudeau invited India’s ire on Tuesday when he in a Facebook live video interaction, organised to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, said that his government had conveyed its concerns over the farmers’ protest to New Delhi.

On Friday, the Canadian high commissioner was summoned to the external affairs ministry and told that the comments by the Canadian Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers on issues relating to Indian farmers were “unacceptable”.

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Also read: No outsider must interfere: Farmer leader after Canadian PM’s remark

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

India complained that Trudeau’s comments resulted in extremist activities in front of India’s high commission and consulates in Canada. The external affairs ministry asked for “fullest security of Indian diplomatic personnel” and asked the Canadian envoy to India to restrict their political leaders from making pronouncements that legitimise extremist activism.

At a Facebook interaction organised by Canadian MP Bardish Chagger, Trudeau had said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t start also by recognising the news coming out of India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning and we’re all very worried about family and friends.” Canadian ministers Navdeep Bains and Harjit Sajjan, lawmakers and prominent members of the Sikh community were present at the virtual interaction.

Sources say Trudeau’s comments were apparently aimed at Canada’s influential Indian-origin diaspora, particularly the Sikhs. Canada has 18 Sikh MPs, of which 13 belong to Trudeau’s Liberal Party.

Also read: Farmer unions reject Centre’s proposal to form panel; talks again on Dec 3

Trudeau was the first and probably the only world leader who has commented on farmers’ protests in Delhi, which the government is trying to end through negotiations with farmers’ leaders.

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