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Opinion

India sends message home on PM Trudeau’s comment, postpones meeting of diplomats

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India has asked Canada to postpone foreign ministry consultations between the two countries’ top diplomats, a move that indicates the recession in political relations between the two countries after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments on the agricultural protests. in India. with the matter said.

Foreign Ministry consultations between Riva Ganguly Das, the Secretary of the Foreign Ministry (East) and her Canadian counterpart that are expected to take place on Tuesday (December 15) were postponed at the request of India. New Delhi has told Ottawa that the date was inconvenient.

Chancellor S Jaishankar last week skipped the Covid-19 Ministerial Coordination Group organized by Canadian Chancellor Francois-Philippe Champagne to strategize on the coronavirus pandemic for the same reason.

India, which had participated in an earlier meeting of the group, had cited “scheduling” issues to stay away from the December 7 meeting.

Prime Minister Trudeau had entered the agricultural protests in India during a video interaction to mark the 551st anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, describing the protests as “concerning” and stating that “Canada will always be there to defend the right to protest. peaceful”.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s comment came despite New Delhi, which was expecting the matter to be raised in the Canadian House of Commons, informing the Canadian Foreign Office, Canada Global Affairs, of the need for the agricultural laws.

Canada has around 1.6 million citizens of Indian origin, a large number of them from Punjab. A little less than half of them, around 7 lakh, are Sikhs.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s comments were directed at this constituency, bracing himself for the possibility that he will face elections in the spring of 2021. The other two political parties, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, have already expressed their support. . But Prime Minister Trudeau didn’t stop at letting his party court Indian immigrants over agricultural protests and took matters into his own hands.

An upset New Delhi immediately summoned the Canadian envoy for the “unwarranted” comments and made a formal diplomatic representation or deed stating that “the comments of the Canadian Prime Minister, some cabinet ministers and members of Parliament on issues related to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs ”.

India also complained to the Canadian envoy about other statements by Canadian leaders that “encouraged meetings of extremist activities in front of our high commission and consulates in Canada that raise security issues.”

Indian officials, however, stressed that economic relations between the two countries would not be affected by the strain in political ties that was often attributed to the Canadian leadership allowing its party’s local political interests to prevail over diplomacy. and the economy.

Hindustan Times

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