WORLD India's foreign minister to skip Canada-led COVID-19 meeting


India's foreign minister to skip Canada-led COVID-19 meeting


21:51, December 05, 2020

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (R) attends the four Indo-Pacific nations' foreign ministers meeting in Tokyo on October 6, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

NEW DELHI, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will not attend a Canada-led foreign ministers meeting aimed at forging a common strategy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reports said Saturday.

"The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told the Canadian government that Jaishankar is not available to attend the December 7 meeting organised by Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne because of 'scheduling' issues," said a local television channel quoting government sources.

Media reports linked the foreign minister's decision to skip the meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's stand on the ongoing farmers protests in India.

Early last week, speaking at a Sikh community gathering in Canada, Trudeau voiced concern over the situation of the farmers protests in India and said his country supports the right of peaceful protests.

The Indian government has expressed opposition to the remarks made by Trudeau on the Indian farmers protests.

In response, foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava described the comments as "ill informed" and "unwarranted" and constitute interference in India's internal affairs.

The Indian foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to India and issued a demarche to him saying, "Such actions, if continued, would have a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada."

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