External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will miss out on the video conference which is scheduled for Monday at the initiative of Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne. As the decision came up days after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s comments on farmer protests, the agitation of the Indian Government on the remarks could be the possible reason.
Officially, the Indian side conveyed to their Canadian counterpart “scheduling issues” as the reason S. Jaishankar will not be a part of this video-call meeting.
However, sources denied Jaishankar’s refusal to be linked with the stand of the Canadian Leader over the farmer protests going on in Delhi. “If it was indeed an action to convey India’s displeasure, we would have said so. We wouldn’t have given schedule as a reason,” the source said.
External Ministry has been communicating with the international counterparts over video-call amidst the pandemic, from 15th March 2020 Foreign ministers of Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, and the United Kingdom – there have been 11 such video-calls. Jaishankar attended the call of the ministerial coordination group hosted by Canada on 3rd November over COVID-19.
The spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres and a group of 36 cross-party UK parliamentarians have also extended their support with the farmer protests in India mentioning people have the liberty to protest peacefully and authorities should consider them doing so.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said in New York on Friday while responding to a question on the farmers’ protest in India answered, “As to the question of India, what I would say to you is what I’ve said to others when raising these issues is that people have a right to demonstrate peacefully, and authorities need to let them do so.”
All 36 cross-party UK parliamentarians have asked the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in written to mention the concern of the British Punjabi community affected by the demonstrations against the new farm laws in India. “This is a joint letter calling for representation to be made by yourself to your Indian counterpart about the impact on British Sikhs and Punjabis, with longstanding links to land and farming in India,” the Parliamentarians stated.
The letter has been issued on Friday, drafted by British Sikh Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi signed by other MPs of Indian origin including Labour’s Virendra Sharma, Seema Malhotra, and Valerie Vaz as well as former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The letter urged the minister to set up a meeting raising the concern over the “deteriorating situation in the Punjab” seeking urgent communication over the situation by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has had with the Indian government.
The FCDO Spokesperson said they hadn’t received the letter yet adding “The police handling of protests is a matter for the government of India.”