India summons Canadian envoy over Trudeau’s remarks on farmers’ protest

New Delhi: India summoned Canada’s envoy Nadir Patel and told him that remarks by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian lawmakers on the farmers’ protest had the potential to 'seriously' damage bilateral ties.

The move signalled India’s ire over remarks by the Canadian leadership that have been perceived in New Delhi as interference in the country’s internal affairs.

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

In a swift reaction hours after Trudeau’s comments, the external affairs ministry had dismissed them as “unwarranted”.

On Friday, the Canadian high commissioner was summoned to the external affairs ministry and served a demarche or formal diplomatic representation that said the “comments by the Canadian Prime Minister, some Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament on issues relating to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs”, according to an official statement.

“Such actions, if continued, would have a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada,” the statement said.