Friday, May 24

India Stops Giving Visas to Canadians Due to Increased Problems

India has decided to suspend the issuance of visas to Canadians due to escalating tensions between the two countries. This decision comes as a response to recent diplomatic disputes and expulsions of diplomats. The strained relationship between India and Canada, fueled by allegations and counter-allegations, has prompted India to halt visa services for Canadian citizens until further notice. This move aims to address the current challenges in bilateral relations and ensure the safety and security of both nations’ interests.

New Delhi has suspended visa services for Canadian nationals indefinitely amid heightened tensions between the two countries. This move comes in response to a recent diplomatic dispute, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar escalating tensions and leading to a diplomatic row. This situation has also resulted in tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats. While no formal announcement regarding the suspension of visa services has been made, a message posted on the Canadian website of BLS International, which manages the visa application centers in Canada, states that Indian visa services have been suspended until further notice due to operational reasons, effective from September 21, 2023.

 

India Stops Giving Visas to Canadians Due to Increased Problems
India Stops Giving Visas to Canadians Due to Increased Problems

 

India has indeed suspended visa services for Canadians, marking the first such suspension since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While an Indian official confirmed the suspension, no further comments were provided, stating that the language in the notice is self-explanatory. Additionally, it should be noted that the Indian high commission’s website was inaccessible for confirmation, as it appeared to be down. This suspension comes in the wake of India’s advisory to its citizens in Canada, urging them to exercise caution due to increasing anti-India activities and politically-sanctioned hate crimes. Indian students, in particular, have been advised to remain vigilant and exercise extreme caution while in Canada.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was tragically killed in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, where he served as the head. He played a prominent role within the secessionist organization Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) in the province. SFJ has attributed his assassination to India.

 

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was tragically killed in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was tragically killed in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara

 

Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Hardeep Singh Nijjar

In response to threats received by some diplomats on social media platforms, Canada’s foreign ministry, Global Affairs Canada, is evaluating its staffing in India. As a precautionary measure, they have decided to temporarily adjust their staff presence in India. All their locations are currently staffed by diplomats and locally engaged staff to ensure the continuity of business and operations.

Canada has requested increased security measures for its missions, including the high commission in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru. They have cited the Vienna Convention, which is an international treaty aimed at safeguarding diplomats and diplomatic premises. Canada expects India to ensure the security of its accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, similar to the security provided for Indian diplomats in Canada.

In response to security concerns, India has also heightened security measures at its missions in Canada, especially for senior diplomats. This comes after the secessionist outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) posted provocative “Kill India” posters in July, followed by a series of other messages blaming New Delhi for the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18.

In response to threats from Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), India has requested increased security measures at its high commission in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Vancouver. SFJ issued a threat to “shut down Indian missions” on September 25, referring to them as “terror houses.” The group, which was banned in India in 2019 due to its pro-Khalistan activities, has also threatened Hindus of Indian origin, asking them to leave Canada for their perceived support of India and alleged promotion of violence by celebrating the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.


Also read: Could the Strained Relationship Between India & Canada Affect Trade?

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