Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (11 February) received a phone call from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, in which the latter requested India's assistance in supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
"Was happy to receive a call from my friend Justin Trudeau. Assured him that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID vaccines sought by Canada. We also agreed to continue collaborating on other important issues like Climate Change and the global economic recovery," PM Modi said in a tweet.
According to a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement, Trudeau informed Prime Minister Modi about Canada's requirements of COVID-19 vaccines from India.
PM Modi assured the Canadian PM that India would do its best to support Canada's vaccination efforts, just as it had done for many other countries already.
"Expressing his appreciation, Prime Minister Trudeau said that if the world managed to conquer COVID-19, it would be significantly because of India's tremendous pharmaceutical capacity, and Prime Minister Modi's leadership in sharing this capacity with the world," the MEA statement said, adding that PM Modi thanked Trudeau for his sentiments.
The two leaders also reiterated the common perspective shared by India and Canada on many important geo-political issues. They agreed to continue the close collaboration between both countries in fighting global challenges like Climate Change and the economic impacts of the pandemic, it added.
The development comes as Trudeau had in December last year stated that Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests and had expressed concern over the situation in Delhi.
A miffed India had summoned the Canadian High Commissioner and said that bilateral ties between both countries could be seriously damaged due to the comments made by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and some other leaders on the ongoing farmers' protests in the national capital.
However, Trudeau refused to back down and reiterated his support for the right of farmers to hold peaceful protests in India.
It should be noted that while the MEA statement on Modi-Trudeau telephonic conversation does not mention any discussion on ongoing protests, the statement issued by Canadian PMO mentions them.
"The leaders discussed Canada and India’s commitment to democratic principles, recent protests, and the importance of resolving issues through dialogue," the Canada PMO readout said.
The call comes as a Canadian opposition leader had criticised Trudeau government for not securing Covid-19 vaccine supplies from India.
Michelle Rempel Garner, the shadow minister of health for the Canadian opposition Conservative Party, had last week asked if the Trudeau administration reached out to New Delhi to make up for its difficulties in getting Covid vaccines.
Anita Anand, the Indian-origin Canadian minister of public services and procurement, told the lawmaker that she hadn’t phoned PM Modi but wasn’t aware if anyone else in the government had reached out to the Indian government.
“She doesn’t know…. Frightening,” Garner said.
In a recent tweet, the Conservative lawmaker thanked Indian government for taking Trudeau's call.
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