India has summoned British High Commissioner on "unwarranted discussion" in the British Parliament on agricultural reforms in India. The Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday that Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla summoned the British High Commissioner and "conveyed strong opposition to the unwarranted and tendentious discussion on agricultural reforms in India in the British Parliament".
"Foreign Secretary made clear that this represented a gross interference in the politics of another democratic country. He advised that British MPs should refrain from practising vote bank politics by misrepresenting events, especially in relation to another fellow democracy," the statement said.
The row over discussion in the British parliament has erupted when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to visit New Delhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited for G7 in the UK.
Earlier, the Indian mission in the United Kingdom issued a strong statement calling the UK Westminster discussion on press freedom and farmers' stir as "one-sided and based on false assertions".
The High Commission of India asserted that the question of lack of press freedom in India does not arise as the foreign media, including the British media, here have witnessed the events under discussion first-hand.
"The High Commission of India would normally refrain from commenting on an internal discussion involving a small group of Parliamentarians in a limited quorum. However, when aspersions are cast on India by anyone, there's a need to set record straight," India in the UK said while responding to a debate in Parliament on the issue of peaceful protests and press freedoms in India following a petition with over 10,000 signatories.
According to the British parliamentary convention, petitions that garner 10,000 signatures on the UK government and Parliament website get a response from the government and petitions that get 100,000 signatures are almost always debated.
The High Commission said that rather than having a balanced debate, the UK Parliamentarians made false assertions "casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions".
"All issues raised are the remit of well-established independent democratic institutions in India for addressing the same. It is also a matter of concern that, once again, comments were made to mislead the British Indian community, raising doubts about the treatment of minorities in India, alleged human rights violations in Kashmir' etc," it added.
The United Kingdom on Monday had clarified that agricultural reform laws were a "domestic matter" of India and that security forces in a democracy have the right to enforce law and order.
Farmers have been camping at several Delhi border points for over three months now demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws.
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