Toronto: An opposition party in Canada has called on the government to boycott G20 activities in India over its alleged treatment of religious minorities and human rights record.
The boycott call came as India formally assumed the G20 Presidency on Thursday under the theme ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ — world is one family.
New Democratic Party (NDP) MPs Heather McPherson and Blake Desjarlais in statement called on the ruling Liberal government to engage in a diplomatic boycott of G20 activities in India.
Asserting that it is deeply concerned about ongoing reports of “violations of civil liberties and human rights in India”, the NDP statement read: “India’s BJP government bears responsibility for ensuring respect for human rights and civil liberties of all Indian citizens.
“However, it is clear the Indian government is not only ignoring this responsibility, but also defying it with impunity.”
Expressing its displeasure with the present government in India, NDP said: “Canada should reject any G-20 activities planned in Kashmir and refuse to attend while these human rights abuses continue.”
The party, which is headed by Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh, has called on the Canadian government to take a “stand for human rights and show solidarity with all people of India, who have a right to live freely and without persecution”.
Canada, meanwhile, has termed India a “critical partner” under its Indo-Pacific strategy that was released last week.
The policy major thrust is towards building people-to-people relations, strengthening the visa-processing capacity in New Delhi and Chandigarh as well as investing more in academic, educational, cultural, youth and research exchanges with India.
Last month, it announced an expanded air transport agreement with India, allowing designated airlines to operate an unlimited number of flights between the two countries.
The relations between the two nations were put to test recently with India asking Canada to stop “Khalistan Referendums” by the proscribed terrorist group, Sikh for Justice (SFJ), Canada on its part had said that though it did not support the referendum, it cannot take action as it provides freedom of speech in the country.