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India summons British envoy to convey opposition to discussion over farm laws

MEA terms UK Parliament debate as ‘gross interference in politics of another country’
British MPs should refrain from practising
British MPs should refrain from practising "vote bank politics by misrepresenting events", especially in relation to another fellow democracy, the MEA said on Tuesday.
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Our Bureau, Agencies   |   New Delhi   |   Published 09.03.21, 08:54 PM

India summoned the British High Commissioner on Tuesday and conveyed its strong opposition to the "unwarranted and tendentious" discussion on India's agricultural reforms in the British Parliament.

The Ministry of External Affairs said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told the envoy that discussions in the British Parliament on India's agri reforms represented a gross interference in politics of another democratic country.

It said the foreign secretary also advised the envoy that British MPs should refrain from practising "vote bank politics by misrepresenting events", especially in relation to another fellow democracy.

"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," the MEA said in a statement.

"Foreign Secretary made clear that this represented a gross interference in the politics of another democratic country," it added.

It further said: "He advised that British MPs should refrain from practising vote bank politics by misrepresenting events, especially in relation to another fellow democracy." 

A group of around dozen cross-party British MPs had on Monday debated issues around the use of force against protesters opposed to agricultural reforms in India and journalists being targeted while covering the protests taking place at several border points of Delhi for over 100 days.

The High Commission of India in London has condemned false assertions in a "distinctly one-sided discussion"  in a statement.

The Indian mission pointed out that foreign media, including British media, had been present and witnessed the events surrounding the farmers' protests in India first-hand and therefore any "question of lack of freedom of the media in India does not arise .

"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, a statement issued by the high commission said, following the debate which stemmed from an e-petition that attracted over 100,000 signatures on the parliamentary website.

The mission said it would normally refrain from commenting on an internal discussion involving a small group of honourable parliamentarians in a limited quorum.

"However, when aspersions are cast on India by anyone, irrespective of their claims of friendship and love for India or domestic political compulsions, there is a need to set the record straight," the statement said.



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