Canada Expresses Concern Over Gujarat

New Delhi, April 24 : | Updated: Apr 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Even as it claimed that it had no intentions of interfering with the internal affairs of India, Canada on Wednesday expressed concern over the communal violence in Gujarat.

Canadian minister of intergovernmental affairs Stephanie Dion said he was keen to participate in the peace rally mooted by defence minister George Fernandes to bring back peace to the state, and he urged all people of goodwill to turn up and show how much they wanted the return of peace to the state. He was talking to the press after delivering his inaugural address at the Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi

Making it clear that Canadas concern should not be interpreted as interference with the internal affairs of India, he said, As long as secularism is in the heart of the attempts by the government to solve the problem, we are confident that they will succeed. The minister said Canadian government promoted many ethnic community-friendly policies and would support similar policies all over the world.

On war against terrorism, the minister said, It is not a fight against any particular religion, but against terrorist organisations. We are coordinating closely with India to root out such activities by sharing intelligence and through joint security exercises.

Terming India as an ideal trading partner for Canada, he said, Indias annual growth rate of 5-6 per cent is commendable. A delegation of Canadian business leaders, including over 150 participants, who came along with me, have evinced keen interest in doing business here.

Mr Dion, who is on a four-day visit, met home minister LK Advani apart from Mr Fernandes and said he also conveyed the angst of the 800,000 Canadians of Indian origin regarding the communal frenzy in Gujarat to them.

...MEA Not Amused, Labels It Partisan
Our Political Bureau

New Delhi, April 24: The government on Wednesday fired a second salvo in three days on the matter of some foreign missions here deliberately leaking their internal reports on the Gujarat situation, saying some of them are creating an impression of playing a partisan role.

Some foreign countries and missions in Delhi are injecting themselves into the highly politically charged internal debate in the country and are creating an impression of playing a partisan role, foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Nirupama Rao told mediapersons here.

New Delhis sharp reaction comes in the wake of visiting Canadian and Spanish ministers making public their concerns over the Gujarat situation and reported internal reports of German and Dutch missions here that there were surgical attacks on minority communities and partisan police action in the state in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage.

The spokesperson said, We note with regret that some foreign missions continue to interfere with the already vigorous democratic debate going on at all levels of Indian society on the situation in Gujarat by deliberately leaking their internal reports or making substantive political comments on the subject.

According to her, such actions were contradictory to the well-established norms of diplomacy and injurious to the friendly relations that exist between India and the EU as well as individual European countries.

When asked about Gujarati non-resident Indian associations having contacted Indian missions abroad, she said the message to them was one of reassurance and also trying to assuage their apprehensions besides informing them about the steps taken by the government to deal with the situation.