The United States of America has called for a “dialogue” with the farmers of India, urging the Indian government to recognise “peaceful protests” and allow “access” to the internet.
Responding to queries posed by India Today, a US State Department spokesperson on Thursday said, “We recognise that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same. We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.”
The Indian government, on its part, through a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday had explained the continued engagement with the farmers saying that only a small section of farmers in parts of India have “reservations” about these reforms.
“Respecting the sentiments of the protestors, the Government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union Ministers have been part of the negotiations, and eleven rounds of talks have already been held. The Government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India,” said the MEA statement.
‘Access to information was hallmark of thriving democracy’
On the issue of reports of internet shutdown in areas around the protest sites at the Delhi border, the US government emphasised that access to information was the “hallmark” of a thriving “democracy”.
The US State Department spokesperson said, “We recognise that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy.
US welcomes India’s efforts towards agricultural reforms
While observing that there needs to be a resolution to the farmer crisis in India through dialogue, Washington DC welcomed India’s efforts towards agricultural reforms.
“In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment,” he said.
“The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector. These reforms give expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming,” the MEA statement had said.
The controversy blew up when celebrities like Rihanna tweeted with a news article asking, “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
India called such comments and statements made by international personalities and groups as “propaganda” and influenced by “vested interests” and started hashtags #IndiaUnited and #IndiaAgianstPropaganda.
— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) February 3, 2021
“Some of these vested interest groups have also tried to mobilise international support against India. Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere,” said the MEA statement.