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Business News/ News / India/  India-Canada row: Indian High Commissioner speaks on visa suspensions, says ‘Situation still not ideal…'
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India-Canada row: Indian High Commissioner speaks on visa suspensions, says ‘Situation still not ideal…'

India's High Commissioner to Canada says situation not ideal for normal diplomatic functions. India-Canada tensions escalated after Trudeau's allegations of Indian involvement in shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau has accused Indian government agents of killing Khalistani terrorist Hardeep SIngh Nijjar. (Image: Reuters)Premium
Canada PM Justin Trudeau has accused Indian government agents of killing Khalistani terrorist Hardeep SIngh Nijjar. (Image: Reuters)

India-Canada row: India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma spoke on visa suspension to Canadian and said that the situation is still not ideal to conduct normal diplomatic and Consular functions by all Indian diplomats and consular officials. Verma, while speaking to Hindustan Times said that there could be a possibility of some relaxation for Canadian residents if the security environment for Indian diplomats and consular workers stationed in Canada improves.

The escalating tensions between the two countries began last month after Prime Minister Justain Trudeau alleged that the Indian government was behind the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, outside a Gurdwara in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia, on 18 June 2023. India has outrightly rejected the claims, calling it 'absurd' and 'motivated'. Recently, Canada also claimed that had held numerous ‘meetings’ to make India aware of the ‘credible allegations’ which state India and its intelligence agency was involved in Nijjar's killing.

Also Read: Trudeau is incompetent, will restore ties with India when I become PM, says opposition leader Pierre Poilievre

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 suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid the festering diplomatic fallout of Trudeau's charge.

Coming back to Verma, he said, “Indian authorities continuously assess the security of Indian diplomats and consular officials stationed in Canada, as well as that of our diplomatic and consular premises," as quoted by HT.

Though, Canada has improved mission coverage and given diplomats personal security information, however, Verma added, “Provision of security to key Indian diplomats and consular officials does not necessarily mean that the security environment has improved. It only means that despite threats to their people, they are able to have restricted physical movement. The situation is still not ideal to conduct normal diplomatic and Consular functions by all Indian diplomats and consular officials," as quoted by HT.

Meanwhile, Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller had also said that visa processing of Indians looking to come to Canada has slowdown. This was caused after 41 of Canada's 62 diplomats in India were removed, along with their dependents upon India's request to reduce the number of Canada diplomats in the country. Top Indian government sources have also alleged that Canadian diplomats in consulate across Chandigarh and Punjab are issuing visas to people who are Khalistani supporters, a report by CNN-News18 stated.

Meanwhile, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), the pro-Khalistan outfit has called for the next phase of the so-called Referendum on 29 October in Surrey, media reports have stated.

Stating that the India-Canada relations are going through a "difficult phase", External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said that the clause of parity is very much provided for by the Vienna Convention and India had to invoke it, because of the "continuous interference" in domestic affairs by Canadian personnel. He further said that India had to stop issuing visas in Canada because it wasn't safe for the Indian diplomats to work there amid continuous threats and extremism.

Addressing the event, Jaishankar said, "There's this whole issue of parity that the size of how many diplomats there are of one country versus how many diplomats there are of the other country. Parity is very much provided for by the Vienna Convention, which is the relevant international rule on this. But in our case, we invoked parity because we had concerns about continuous interference in our affairs by Canadian personnel. We haven't made much of that public".

"My sense is over a period of time more stuff will come out and people will understand why we had the kind of discomfort with many of them which we did," the EAM added.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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Published: 25 Oct 2023, 01:28 PM IST
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