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Business News/ News / India/  India-Canada row: Diplomatic standoff continues; experts say ‘relationship in deep crisis' | 10 points
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India-Canada row: Diplomatic standoff continues; experts say ‘relationship in deep crisis' | 10 points

India-Canada ties strained after Trudeau alleged Indian involvement in killing of Khalistani terrorist Nijjar. India has called claims 'absurd and motivated'.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September alleged the involvement of 'agents of the Indian government' in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June this yearPremium
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September alleged the involvement of 'agents of the Indian government' in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June this year

India-Canada row: The ties between India and Canada have been strained after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September alleged the involvement of "agents of the Indian government" in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June this year. India on the other hand has rejected the claims and called the allegations as "absurd and motivated." Since then Ottawa and New Delhi announced tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats in the wake of Trudeau's allegation of Indian involvement in Nijjar's killing. India also temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity. Canada has withdrawn 41 diplomats and their family members from India.

Here are 10 points to know about the India-Canada row

1. On 5 November, Indian High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma reiterated New Delhi's stand on the diplomatic standoff with Canada, urging Ottawa to release evidence backing up its allegation regarding the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

2. He said that India has not been shown concrete evidence by Canada or its allies about India's alleged involvement in the Nijjar killing, ANI reported. The Indian envoy also noted that New Delhi has made 26 requests to Ottawa over the past five or six years to extradite people from Canada to India.

3. Designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the founder of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), in a video released asked Sikhs to not to fly in Air India aircraft after November 19, as their lives can be under threat. "We are asking the Sikh people not to fly via Air India. From November 19, there will be a global blockade. Air India won't be allowed to operate. Sikh people, don't travel by Air India after November 19. Your life can be in danger," Pannun said in the video that is circulating on social media. He also claimed that Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport would remain shut on 19 November and renamed when Punjab was ‘liberated’.

4. Indian officials asked Canada to enhance security for Air India flights amid threats issued by the pro-Khalistan Sikhs for Justice group. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Indian High Commissioner to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma said, “We shall take up the threat against Air India flights originating from and terminating in Canada, with the concerned Canadian authorities." Air India currently operates multiple flights per week from Delhi to Vancouver and Toronto.

5. After suspending visa services, India resumed partial visa services for Canadians from 26 October, the Indian Embassy in Ottawa announced. The services was resumed for four categories entry, business, medical and conference visas. Visa services including tourists, employment, students, film, missionaries and journalists still remain suspended.

6. Canada has the largest Sikh population outside Punjab, with 770,000 people reporting Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census. India is by far Canada's largest source of foreign students, accounting for 40 percent of study permit holders - a vital source for Canada's fast-growing international education business, contributing over C$20 billion ($15 billion) to the economy annually.

Also Read: HTLS 2023: Jaishankar says there's room for diplomacy to address India-Canada row

7. Officials and experts have said that mending frayed diplomatic relations between India and Canada will be a long process after each side adopted maximalist positions, despite New Delhi's surprise move to ease some visa curbs on Canadians, as reported by Reuters. Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington told Reuters that “The relationship is in deep crisis, perhaps its worst ever." "Each side may have a strong interest in the crisis not getting completely out of control, but that doesn't mean there are strong incentives to resolve the crisis."

Also Read: Canada to invite nearly 15 lakh immigrants in next three years, but can India retain the top spot? Explained

8. Ajay Bisaria who was worked as India's ambassador to Canada from 2020 to 2022 told Reuters that the relationship is in a "de-escalation phase" following "quiet diplomacy". Even with the reprieve, the visa curbs are expected to hinder the movement of tens of thousands of Indians and people of Indian origin who live in Canada or plan to study there.

9. Speaking on the India Canada FTA, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal recently said that FTA discussions between India and Canada were halted after the North American country stopped talks due to baseless misconceptions, a move that will hurt it more than India.

10. Although both governments have spared business and trade links, the acrimony has delayed discussions on a free-trade deal and threatens Group of Seven member Canada's Indo-Pacific plans, where New Delhi is critical to efforts to check an increasingly assertive China.

(With inputs from Reuters, PTI, ANI)

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Published: 06 Nov 2023, 02:28 PM IST
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