India’s foreign ministry has branded comments by Canadian leaders “ill-informed” after the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, expressed support for agricultural workers protesting against new laws deemed anti-farmer.
“We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India,” said Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.
"Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country.
“It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes.”
It comes after Justin Trudeau extended his support to protesting farmers in India while addressing a virtual event on the 551st anniversary of Sikh founder Guru Nanak.
"The news coming out of India about the protest by farmers … the situation is concerning and we're all very worried about family and friends. I know that's a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest," Mr Trudeau said.
He became the first international leader to lend support to large-scale protests in India by farmers opposed to plans put forward by Narendra Modi’s government.
Growers from India's big northern farming states have been camped outside Delhi for nearly a week, demonstrating against laws they fear could pave the way for the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
An estimated 20,000 protesters have blocked five entry points to the capital city through the Delhi-Haryana Highway, demanding the BJP-led government withdraw the new laws.
The protests entered the sixth day today with farmers agreeing to meet a three-member team of ministers after denying home minister Amit Shah’s “conditional” talks offer.
The farmers have deemed the new laws as “anti-farmer”, with fears rife that legislation will empower corporate giants and deprive small farmers of state-guaranteed minimum prices for their produce.
Meanwhile, the government officials are meeting with a 35-member team of farmers to dispel concerns about the minimum support price and dismantle the protest.