New Delhi: In an unprecedented development, India on Tuesday summoned UK’s High Commissioner to Delhi Alex Ellis to lodge a strong protest after a discussion in UK Parliament over India’s new farm laws. The meeting took place in the House of Commons Westminster hall in response to an e-petition campaign.
In a rare summoning by India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla, the UK High Commissioner was handed over a demarche or diplomatic note of protests over “unwarranted and tendentious discussion” on “agricultural reforms” in India in the British Parliament.
The readout by India’s Ministry of External Affairs said that the Foreign Secretary “made clear” that this “represented a gross interference in the politics of another democratic country” advising that British MPs should “refrain from practising vote bank politics by misrepresenting events, especially in relation to another fellow democracy.”
The strongly-worded statement comes even as the Indian high commission in London, just hours before had slammed the “one-sided discussion” of UK MPs calling out the “false assertions – without substantiation or facts – were made, casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions.”
This is not the first time such developments have happened. In the past also, Westminster Hall has witnessed similar discussions.
The discussion saw several MPs speaking against India, which included Pakistan origin UK MP Khalid Mahmood, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who said, “imagine our collective pain when we see scenes of tear gas and water cannon and brute force being used against farmer”.
Jeremy Corbyn, who was the leader of the Labor Party till last year, highlighted the “unprecedented nature” of protest which is the biggest ever “industrial dispute”.
The British Govt had strongly defended the Indian govt during the discussion with the UK govt’s Minister of State for Asia, Nigel Adams, pointing out that “India’s agriculture reforms are India’s internal matter.”
India and UK have seen high-level engagement, with UK PM Boris Johnson expected to visit India and Indian PM Narendra Modi to visit UK for the G7 summit later this year.