Indian PM’s decision to repeal farm laws to soothe ruffled feathers in West – The Economic Times

Clipped from:

Soon after Biden took over on January 20, the US State Department had subtly referred to the way in which the Modi government had dealt with the ongoing protests by farmers against the agriculture laws.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to repeal the three contentious farm laws on Friday will go a long way in soothing ruffled feathers in the West, particularly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, after leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several US Congressmen had joined issue over the farmers’ protests.

It is interesting that the decision to repeal the laws has been made before the summit of democracies organised by US President Joe Biden on December 9-10, where Modi is expected to participate.

At the Sydney dialogue on Thursday, a day before the announcement, Modi had emphasised India’s democratic credentials.

The list of protesters against the farm laws not only included Meena Harris – the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris – and climate crusader Greta Thunberg, but also lawmakers in Canada, the UK and the United States.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the diplomatic missions in foreign capitals had to respond to condemnation over police action on protesting farmers.

Seven members of the US Congress had in December 2020 written to Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump’s administration, expressing “serious concerns” over what they had called “civil unrest” in India.

Soon after Biden took over on January 20, the US State Department had subtly referred to the way in which the Modi government had dealt with the ongoing protests by farmers against the agriculture laws.

Friday’s decision will also be a message to the ruling Democrats in the United States.

The government had on March 9 summoned the British High Commissioner in New Delhi, Alex Ellis, to the MEA and served him a démarche, protesting the discussion in the UK’s Parliament on the protests in India. Thirty-six members of the UK’s Parliament had earlier written to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and asked him to take up the issue with the Modi government.

A large number of protesters – mostly British Sikhs – from across the UK had assembled on the road in front of the Indian High Commission in London on December 6 last year to express solidarity with the agitating farmers.

New Delhi’s relations with Ottawa had also come under stress after Trudeau had used his message on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak last year to express concern over the protests.

Several Sikh ministers in the Canadian government, too, had tweeted criticizing police actions against the agitating farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

The Indian government had also summoned the Canadian envoy citing the adverse impact on bilateral relations if Trudeau and other leaders continued to comment on the agitation.

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