Boris said, “Of course, Mr Speaker, and our views as the honourable gentleman knows well, of course, we have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan but these are pre-eminently matters for those two governments to settle and I know that he appreciates that point.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Wednesday confused the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the agricultural laws in India with the Indian and Pakistan conflict, drawing mockery on social media.
"We have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan," said UK PM Boris Johnson, about the ongoing farmers' protests in India.
In the House of Commons, during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session, MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, asked Johnson to comment on the ongoing protests in India, which have seen tens of thousands of farmers camped in the outskirts of Delhi for over two weeks now.
“Many constituents, especially those emanating from Punjab and other parts of India, and I were horrified to see footage of water cannons, teargas and brute force being used against peacefully protesting farmers. However, it was heart-warming to see those very farmers feeding those forces who had been ordered to beat or suppress them. What indomitable spirit and it takes a special kind of people to do that,” the opposition lawmaker said.
“So, will the Prime Minister (Johnson) convey to the Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) our heartfelt anxieties, our hopes for a speedy resolution to the current deadlock and does he agree that everyone has a fundamental right to peaceful protest,” he questioned Johnson.
A confused Boris Johnson reiterated the UK government's stance that any dispute between India and Pakistan was for the two countries to settle bilaterally.
"Our view is that of course we have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan but these are pre-eminently matters for those two governments to settle and I know that he appreciates that point," said Johnson.
Dhesi, who looked visibly perplexed, was quick to take to social media once again as he posted the exchange on Twitter, adding: “But it might help if our PM actually knew what he was talking about!”
Many were horrified to see water cannon, tear gas and brute force being used against farmers peacefully protesting in India about #FarmersBill2020.— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) December 9, 2020
Everyone has the fundamental right to protest peacefully.
But it might help if our PM actually knew what he was talking about! pic.twitter.com/EvqGHMhW0Y
"Absolutely clueless! So disappointed with his response," Dhesi said in another tweet.
The world is watching, issue is a huge one with hundreds of thousands protesting globally (including in London, reported on by BBC) and the usual Boris Johnson bluff and bluster heaps further embarrassment onto our nation. Absolutely clueless! So disappointed with his response.— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) December 9, 2020
A report on India Today which sought a clarification stated, a UK government spokesperson said that the Prime Minister had “misheard” the question and that the Foreign Office was “closely” following the protests in India. This is the first time that the UK government has said that they are monitoring the situation in India.
“The Prime Minister clearly misheard the question in parliament today. The Foreign Office are (is) following the issue of protests in India closely,” said the spokesperson.
36 British MPs have written to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on the matter. Other than the UK, last week saw Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau expressed his concern on the farmer's protests in India leading to a sharp reaction from India. The ministry of external affairs called the comments "unwarranted", and summoned the Canadian envoy to India Nadir Patel, handing over a strong demarche.
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Last Updated Dec 10, 2020, 1:20 PM IST