In a Press Conference today, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Mr. Anurag Srivastava, told reporters that U.S. and India are both vibrant democracies with shared values and that incidents of violence and vandalism at the Red Fort on January 26th and at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, evoked ‘similar sentiments and reactions’. The MEA Press Conference, which was held in response to comments from the U.S. State Department about the Farmer Protests, is also held in the shadow of a leaked document by Climate activist Greta Thunberg, which detailed out the foreign plot to put the Central Government under pressure.
Mr. Srivastava, in response to the comments by the U.S. State Department on Farmer Protests, said, “U.S. State Department has acknowledged steps been taken by India towards agricultural reforms. 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.”
Mr. Srivastava then further went on to equate the events of January 26th at the Red Fort, where protestors illegally breached the Red Fort to install a religious flag, to the U.S. Capitol Siege on January 6th where protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol in order to stop the electoral vote count. Mr. Srivastava said, “India & U.S. are both vibrant democracies with shared values. Incidents of violence & vandalism at historic Red Fort on Jan 26 evoked similar sentiments and reactions in India as did the Capitol Hill incident on January 6th and are addressed as per local laws.”
The equation and equivalence of the violence in Red Fort on Republic Day to the U.S. Capitol Siege by the Ministry of External Affairs comes in the backdrop of a leaked toolkit document which lays down in great detail a coordinated, foreign operation against the Indian Government. The comments from the MEA Spokesperson has created speculation that this signal a shift in the attitude in Modi Government with regard to the handling of the Farmer Protests, from a softer approach to tougher one.
Mr. Srivastava also commented on the temporary measures utilized on January 26th, including the shutdown of 4G Internet, and said that the temporary measures were ‘understandably undertaken to prevent further violence.’
The MEA spokesperson was also asked to comment on the Pakistan Army Chief’s remarks on peaceful co-existence with India. Mr. Srivastava remarked that, “India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility & violence. The onus is on Pakistan to create such an environment.”