On farmers’ protest, Trudeau commended India’s efforts, says MEA

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had ticked off India after he supported protesting farmers last year, has commended the government’s efforts in handling the protest and for choosing “the path of dialogue as befitting a democracy”, the ministry of external affairs said on Friday.

In early December, a few weeks into the agitation, Trudeau had backed the protests and said that Ottawa has conveyed its concerns about the protest by Indian farmers to New Delhi.

Trudeau had said that Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests and expressed concern over the situation. MEA was quick to dismiss his remarks as “unwarranted” as they pertained to the country’s internal affairs.

Last week, minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan said Trudeau had made a comment on the issues related to the farmers and it was conveyed to Canada that such remarks pertaining to the internal affairs of India are “unwarranted” and “unacceptable”.

“On farmer protest, PM Trudeau commended efforts of the Government of India to choose the path of dialogue as befitting a democracy,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a weekly press briefing.

The Canadian prime minister also acknowledged the responsibility of his government in providing protection to Indian diplomatic personnel and premises in Canada, the MEA spokesperson said.

The statement from MEA comes two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trudeau held a telephonic conversation on Wednesday and covered a range of issues including the coronavirus crisis.

A readout issued by Trudeau’s office on the telephonic talks mentioned that the farmer protests figured in the discussions, though the Indian statement had not mentioned it.

“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. It mentioned several other issues discussed by the two prime ministers.

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.

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