Wed, 29 Nov 2023

India Suspends Visa Services to Canadians as Tensions Simmer

Voice of America
22 Sep 2023, 10:06 GMT+10

India suspended visa services for Canadian citizens on Thursday and asked Canada to reduce its staffing in India, as tensions between the two countries grew.

Canadian citizens who do not currently hold visas will not be able to travel to India until visa services resume.

India has also asked that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence in the country, a move that Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi called an issue of parity as Indian staffers in Canada are outnumbered by Canadian staff members in India.

India also has warned its citizens to practice caution when traveling to Canada, as the Foreign Ministry in New Delhi cited "growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes."

Relations between the two countries have been strained since Monday, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited "credible allegations" that India was involved in the killing in June of Canadian citizen and Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb.

While Trudeau has said he does not want to provoke or have problems with India, he stated that Canada is "unequivocal about the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians.' He has asked India to cooperate in the investigation of Nijjar's death.

India has been viewed by many in the international community as a vital counter to China's growing international influence, which has caused the reluctance of many Canadian allies to weigh in on this issue.

Canada and India have generally had a cordial relationship reliant on trade and security, though India has accused Canada of harboring Sikh separatists and people India considers terrorists.

Canada has not presented any evidence in the killing, and Trudeau has stated the country will let the full investigation run its course.

'As a country with a strong and independent justice system, we allow those justice processes to unfold themselves with the utmost integrity,' he said.

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