Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Centre from November last year. (HT PHOTO).
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Centre from November last year. (HT PHOTO).

No foreign govt has supported farmers' protest: MEA in Lok Sabha

  • The government’s position was outlined in a written reply by minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan to a question in the Lok Sabha.
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
PUBLISHED ON FEB 03, 2021 08:43 PM IST

The government said on Wednesday that no foreign administration has extended support to farmers protesting against three farm laws though there were protests on the issue by “motivated” people of Indian-origin in countries such as Canada, the US and the UK.

The government’s position was outlined in a written reply by minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan to a question in the Lok Sabha. He was responding to a query from All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MPs Syed Imtiaz Jaleel and Asaduddin Owaisi on whether some countries and PIOs have supported the farmers’ protest.

“No foreign government has given support to agitation of Indian farmers against three bills passed by Indian Parliament,” Muraleedharan said in the reply.

“In Canada, [the] UK, [the] USA, and in few European countries, protests by a few motivated PIOs on issues related to the Indian Farm Bill have been reported,” he added.

Muraleedharan said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “made a comment on issues related to farmers in India”, following which the Indian government had “taken up this matter with the Canadian authorities both in Ottawa and New Delhi and conveyed that such comments pertaining to the internal affairs of India are unwarranted, unacceptable and would damage India-Canada bilateral relations”.

He also said the Canadian government “has welcomed the Government of India’s commitment to ongoing dialogue with the farmers to discuss issues of concern”.

The external affairs ministry has pushed back against comments by foreign leaders supporting the farmers’ protest or questioning the government’s handling of the snowballing demonstrations, saying they are an internal affair and that most of the remarks didn’t reflect the country’s democratic ethos or the government’s outreach to the farmers.

Trudeau triggered a diplomatic row in December when he told a Facebook video interaction organised to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak that his government had conveyed its concerns over the farmers’ protest to New Delhi.

In response, the external affairs ministry summoned Canadian envoy Nadir Patel and told him the remarks by Trudeau and Canadian lawmakers on the issue had the potential to “seriously” damage bilateral ties. Despite the protest from the Indian side, Trudeau doubled down on his position and said Canada “will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest anywhere around the world”.

The matter has also been raised by influential US lawmakers, including members of the influential house foreign affairs committee, and a group of 36 British MPs wrote a letter to foreign minister Dominic Raab last month, asking him to take up the farmers’ protest with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar during a visit to New Delhi last month.

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