The Canadian Prime Minister’s comments on the farmers’ strike, a domestic issue in India, are unjustified. That Trudeau has made them cling to his most consistent political ideology, nor does it diminish their dissent and does not offer excuses.
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, took part in a gala ceremony in Guruparb organized by the Sikh minister in his cabinet. There were also other Sikh ministers and Sikh members in the Canadian parliament. Trudeau chose to use this time to deliberately refer to the farm riots in India and said: “The situation is about and we are all very concerned about family and friends and I know that is true for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right to peaceful protests. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that is why we have touched many ways directly to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns. ”
This comment on the domestic issue in India is no excuse. That Trudeau has made them cling to his most consistent political ideology, nor does it diminish their dissent and does not offer excuses. Indians may have relatives in Canada as elsewhere, but the foreign leader must always remember that it is wrong to address their situation unless they are facing discrimination or violence. This has not been the case with the current protests.
India has rightly called Trudeau’s comment “unnecessary”, but it can be seen in the construction used by a foreign affairs spokesman that it was linked to Canada on the issue. He said, “It is much better for diplomatic negotiations not to be misrepresented for political purposes.” Interestingly, instead of participating in political negotiations, India did not dispel the Canadian taunts of the hand-held protests and refused to entertain them.
That is the way to deal with a friend or an enemy in such a situation. This is particularly so in a country that has traditionally expressed little concern for the integrity of the Indian state. Canada has Chaldean sympathizers within its political class. No action has been taken to stop those who have exposed its purpose. Its excuses have been its laws that guarantee freedom of speech. Also, all this while denying visas to members of the Indian security forces fighting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. This is a time when the Canadian holy spirit needs to be called upon. Spokesman response is insufficient. The Canadian high commissioner should be summoned to the South Block and India’s dissatisfaction be handed over to him. India’s interest in attracting investment should not deter these classroom practices especially influenced by investment returns and profits.
While the situation from Trudeau’s comments is sui genis, there is an element from the government’s disintegrated activist policy that deserves consideration. The government of Narendra Modi has emphasized the importance of Indian communities in the relationship between India and many countries, especially in western democracies. It highlighted their constructive role in promoting this relationship.
In the past also, in some critical issues, these communities have used their heft to include key segments of political ideology in their countries to transfer positions in India. This has been the case especially in the United States (US). India-US nuclear deal applies in this context.
The political leadership of these countries has recognized the growing importance of these communities in their domestic politics. Instead of taking collateral in their relations with India, they have sought to use them to further their party organizations or their aspirations. A further example of this was President Donald Trump’s participation in the “Howdy Modi” event in the US in 2019. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Canada in 2015, Trudeau’s predecessor, Stephen Harper, accompanied him to the temple and the gurudwara. Apparently Harper wanted to increase his popularity with the Indian community the day before the difficult election he had won. As Indian society becomes political in these countries, its status in Indian domestic affairs will inevitably become a factor in bilateral relations. However, these will have to hurt India and the governments involved. Of course, Trudeau’s intervention is not the way forward.