The diplomatic relations between India and Canada have further deteriorated as the farmer protests intensify. In the latest development, Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar has decided to give the meeting of the group of foreign ministers led by Canada, a miss. The grouping aims at establishing a shared plan to counter the Covid-19 pandemic.

As per a report in The Print, government sources said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told the Canadian government that because of 'scheduling' problems, Jaishankar will not be available to attend the meeting arranged by the Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on 7 December.

S Jaishankar
Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar.

The move is seen as India's displeasure over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments on the ongoing farmer's protests at the Delhi-Haryana border. In a statement earlier this week, Trudeau has said, "I would be remiss if I didn't start also by recognizing 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." The statement was further echoed by some of his cabinet ministers and members of Parliament. 

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Canadian PM Justin TrudeauREUTERS

The MEA summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to India on Friday lodged a serious protest on Trudeau's statement. In its response, the MEA called these statements, "ill-informed", "unwarranted". The MEA also contented that these remarks were "constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs".

India participated in the Ministerial Coordination Group of Covid-19 (MCGC) last month

It is pertinent to note that India's External Affairs Minister has participated in the Ministerial Coordination Group of Covid-19 (MCGC) for the time last month. This Canada led group has been meeting once every month since March. Jaishankar had shown his pleasure while taking part in the meeting for the first time last month. In fact, the Indian officials had highlighted that it was a recognition of the increasing presence of India worldwide.

Water Canon on Farmers
Police using waster cannon to disperse agitating farmersReuters

The United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Peru, and Australia are among the participants in the MCGC party. China who has been accused by Western countries of spreading the Covid-19 has been left out of the group.