In this week's news from outside the country, India summoned Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel and told him that the comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in his cabinet on the farmers' protest constituted an "unacceptable interference" in the country's internal affairs and these actions, if continued, will have a "seriously damaging" impact on the bilateral ties.
International ripples of India’s farmers' protest
- Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs and "informed that comments by the Canadian Prime Minister, some Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament on issues relating to Indian farmers constitute an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs."
- He was also warned that such actions could have a "seriously damaging impact on ties" between India and Canada.
- India also said that these comments had encouraged gatherings of extremist activities in front of the India High Commission and Consulates in Canada that raise issues of safety and security.
- Meanwhile, rallies continued against the farmers' laws from Canada to US, and UK.
- In US, protestors planned to demonstrate outside the consulate in San Francisco
- In UK, a sizeable number of protestors gathered at the India High Commission creating a security concern. The concern was heightened due to memories of similar protests after the abrogation of Article 370 which created discomfort in the relationship between India and UK.
- A British High Commission spokesperson in India said – “Policing of protests is a matter for the Metropolitan Police. We remained in close contact with both the Indian High Commission in London and the Met Police Service about the protests.”
- Former Indian diplomat Rajiv Dogra said that it is important to engage both the protestors and the host governments on the matter to explain the matter. He recalled his own time at the Indian high commission in London when he was posted there between 1994-1997. He said that they engaged with Khalistani sympathizers who had started to protest again at that time, on radio and other platforms to address any possible misinformation. They also engaged with the government in UK actively and were able to not just dispel misinformation but also put across India’s position on the matter. Listen to the insightful podcast with former ambassador Rajiv Dogra.
Indian Americans in Team Biden so far
- Neera Tanden has been appointed as the head of the Office of Management and Budget.
- President-Elect Biden tweeted to say, "I nominated Neera Tanden to lead OMB because she’s a brilliant policy mind with experience across government. She will help us control the virus, deal with the economic crisis, and build back better. And above all she believes what I believe: a budget should reflect our values."
- Tanden and her sibling were brought up by a single mother who was an immigrant from India. Her mother is reported to have lived on social security for two years after she was divorced before she could secure a job for herself. Tanden hails from a working class background.
- Vivek Murthy has been appointed as Surgeon General.
- Murthy will return as Surgeon General, the job he had in the Obama administration
- He tweeted, "I never dreamed I’d have the honour to once again serve as the Surgeon General. In this moment of crisis, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help end this pandemic, be a voice for science, and support our nation on its path to rebuilding and healing."
PM Modi speaks to French President Emmanuel Macron
- The Prime Minister conveyed to President Macron his condolences for the terror attacks in France and reiterated India's full support to France in the fight against terrorism, extremism and radicalism.
- The leaders also discussed other bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, including improving the affordability and accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines, post-covid economic recovery, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, maritime security, defence cooperation, digital economy and cyber security, strengthening multilateralism, and climate change & biodiversity.
Announcement of 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
- In view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the 16th PBD Convention, 2021 will be held in virtual format on January 9, 2021.
- The theme of PBD 2021 is "Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. In run up to the 16th PBD Convention, five PBD Conferences are being held virtually in 2020-2021.
- On the forenoon of 9 January, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention.