'Gross Interference'; India summons UK envoy over farm laws debate
The central government on Tuesday summoned the British High Commissioner in India to express its disapproval over the recent discussions on farmers' protest and press freedom in the United Kingdom Parliament. The Centre said that the discussion was "unwarranted and tendentious," calling it "gross interference" and "vote-bank politics." India has been witnessing intense protests against three agricultural laws since last year.
Foreign Secretary conveyed strong opposition to British envoy: MEA
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday, "Foreign Secretary summoned the British High Commissioner and conveyed strong opposition to the unwarranted and tendentious discussion on agricultural reforms in India in the British Parliament." "Foreign Secretary made clear that this represented a gross interference in the politics of another democratic country," the statement added.
Foreign Secretary advised British MPs to refrain from vote-bank politics
Further, the Ministry's statement said that the Foreign Secretary has also advised British MPs to "refrain from practicing vote bank politics by misrepresenting events, especially in relation to another fellow democracy."
UK Parliament held debate after e-petition on farm laws
The 90-minute debate in the British Parliament was held on Monday, during which several MPs raised concern over India's reaction to the protests. The debate was held after an e-petition on the matter crossed 1,00,000 signatures, requiring it to be approved by the House of Commons Petitions Committee. The concerns will be raised when the Indian and British Prime Ministers meet, the UK said.
High Commission of India in London also condemned debate
Earlier on Tuesday, the High Commission of India in London condemned the debate as "false assertions" in a "distinctly one-sided discussion." "We deeply regret that rather than a balanced debate, false assertions — without substantiation or facts — were made, casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions," the Commission said in a statement.
Farmers protesting against three laws passed last September
Farmers across India have been protesting against three new agricultural laws that were passed in September. The three laws are: the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Several protesters have camped at Delhi's borders since last November.