The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that it has “taken note” of the United States’ comments on the farmers’ protest, adding that they should be read in their entirety, reported NDTV.
“It is important to see such comments in their entirety,” ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. “The US has acknowledged steps taken by India in agricultural reform. India and the US are both vibrant democracies.”
Srivastava said the US has acknowledged steps been taken by India towards agricultural reforms, reported ANI. “Any protest must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity and ongoing efforts of [the] government and concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse.”
Earlier in the day, the US had urged the Narendra Modi government to resolve its differences with the farmers over the recently passed agriculture reforms through dialogue, saying that peaceful protests are a “hallmark of any thriving democracy”.
The country also signalled concern about internet shutdowns imposed at the farmers’ protest sites to suppress demonstrations, citing law and order situation. “In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment,” the spokesperson had added.
Srivastava referred to the internet shutdowns as “temporary measures” taken to prevent violence. He said that both India addressed matters of violence as per local laws. “India & US are both vibrant democracies with shared values,” he said. “Incidents of violence and vandalism at historic Red Fort on January 26 evoked similar sentiments and reactions in India as did the Capitol Hill incident on January 6 & are addressed as per local laws.”
The government has clamped down on the farmers’ protest in the aftermath of the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally. The crackdown on the farmers’ peaceful agitation, including suspending internet services, has sparked international outrage as well as been criticised by Opposition parties.
The Delhi Police have tried to block access to farmers’ protest sites at the borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh by digging ditches, driving nails into roads and topping concrete barricades with razor wire.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi for over two months, demanding the repeal of the three agricultural laws passed in September. Multiple rounds of talks between farm union leaders and the central government took place, but all of them failed to end the impasse.