The Foreign Office on Friday said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, had spoken approvingly of New Delhi’s handling of the farmers’ protests.
“On the farmers’ protests, PM Trudeau commended efforts of the Government of India to choose the path of dialogue as befitting in democracy,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
“He (Trudeau) also acknowledged the responsibility of his government in providing protection to Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in Canada,” he added. Srivastava told reporters Mr Trudeau also promised security for diplomatic missions and personnel in his country – against what the centre claims are “Khalistani and separatist elements” that have hijacked the protest and are conspiring to defame India.
“The leaders discussed Canada and India’s commitment to democratic principles, recent protests, and the importance of resolving issues through dialogue,” the Canadian readout said. However, the reference to “recent protests” was not mentioned in the Indian government’s readout of the telephone conversation.
In early December, the Canadian PM came under sharp criticism over his statement on the ongoing farmers’ protest in India. Trudeau had posted a video on his Twitter handle, extending support to farmers protesting against the three farm laws in India. “The situation is concerning and we are all very worried about family and friends and I know that is a reality for many of you Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest,” he had said in the video.
“We believe in the importance of dialogue and that is why we have reached out through multiple means directly to Indian authorities to highlight our concerns,” he had said. In a strong retort, India had said Trudeau’s remarks on farmers’ protest are “unwarranted and ill-informed”.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at three border points on the outskirts of Delhi demanding the repeal of the three contentious farm laws cleared by Parliament in September last year. The talks between the farmers and the government have largely been inconclusive and remain in a state of deadlock as the farmers insist on a complete repeal of the laws.
In the telephonic conversation, they even discussed COVID-19. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Canadian counterpart via telephone this week, with the supply of coronavirus vaccines – specifically AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s Covishield, which is produced by Pune-based Serum Institute, one of several topics discussed. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Trudeau said “India’s tremendous pharmaceutical capacity and PM Modi’s leadership” would be key to the world overcoming the pandemic. “Was happy to receive a call from my friend Justin Trudeau. Assured him that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID vaccines sought by Canada,” PM Modi tweeted after that call.