New Delhi: In his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commended the Indian government’s efforts to choose the path of dialogue in dealing with the farmer protests and described it as “befitting in democracy”, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.
Modi and Trudeau held a telephone conversation on Wednesday, covering a range of issues including the coronavirus crisis.
A readout issued by Trudeau’s office on the talks mentioned that the farmer protests figured in the discussions. However, the Indian statement on the same 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.
Trudeau also tweeted a summary of the conversation.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 10, 2021
“On the farmers’ protests, Prime Minister Trudeau commended efforts of the government of India to choose the path of dialogue as befitting in democracy,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.
His comments came following a question on the issue.
“He (Trudeau) also acknowledged the responsibility of his government in providing protection to Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in Canada,” Srivastava said.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting at three border points on the outskirts of Delhi demanding repeal of the three contentious farm laws.
In early December, Trudeau, backing the agitating farmers in India, had said that Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests and had expressed concern over the situation.
India later summoned Canadian high commissioner Nadir Patel and told him that the comments made by Prime Minister Trudeau and others in his cabinet on the farmers’ protest constituted an “unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs and these actions, if continued, will have a “seriously damaging” impact on the bilateral ties.
Recently, six Canadian MPs wrote a letter to their foreign minister, asking the latter to take up the farmers’ protest with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar.
Last week, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said Canadian Prime Minister Justin 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”.
(With PTI inputs)