India has convened Canada’s top diplomat to protest Justin Trudeau’s remarks about the recent mass protests by farmers in the country. Indian officials have warned that continued interference in internal affairs could damage relations between the two countries.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers have landed in the Indian capital and set up large-scale camps that are blocking entry into Delhi as anger over new agrarian laws many fear will damage their livelihoods.
Earlier this week, police used a water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters – a cause for concern for the Prime Minister of Canada.
Practically speaking to members of the Canadian Indian community on the occasion of the 551st birthday of Guru Nana, the founder of Sikhism, Trudeau called the images of the clashes “touching” and that Canada “will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest”. .
Indian officials continued Trudeau’s remarks, starting with the world leader in the growing protests. On Tuesday, the State Department said the Canadian leader was “poorly informed” about the nature of the protests.
“Such remarks are unwarranted, especially when they relate to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best if diplomatic talks are not misrepresented for political purposes, ”spokesman Shri Anurag Srivastava said.
In recent days, a number of political leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for tackling the growing crisis.
On Friday, India heightened its frustration by quoting Canada’s top diplomat as “our unacceptable say” – and warning of Trudeau’s further action could have consequences for the two countries ’relationship.
“Such actions, if continued, would have serious detrimental effects on India-Canada relations,” the State Department said in a statement.
With its large Sikh diaspora, Canada has increasingly become the target of Indian leaders who fear the creation of an independent Sikh state in India.
The issue was overwhelmed by much of Trudeau’s 2018 visit to India. Hoping to announce a number of new trade agreements and investments, the prime minister was instead ignored by the Modi government.
In his comments on Friday, India drew a line between Trudeau’s remarks and concerns about Canadian Sikh nationalists, saying the prime minister had “encouraged gatherings of extremist activities before our High Commission and Canadian Consulate”, urging the government to “protect its staff from extreme activism ’.
Farmers outside Delhi have announced that they do not intend to leave. Protest leaders have met with government officials in talks over the past two days, but no agreement has been reached.