Monday, December 11, 2023

India suspends visa processing for Canadian citizens

Diplomatic tensions between Canada and India are rising. Canadian diplomats have been victims of online threats, denounced the Canadian High Commissioner. For its part, India has suspended the processing of visa applications made by Canadian citizens.

The BLS Canada visa processing center, located in Ottawa, made the announcement on its website. The center cites “operational reasons.” The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not commented on the matter.

Canada also reported threats against its diplomats on social media and said temporarily adjust staff presence in India, in a statement from the Canadian High Commission in India obtained by CBC on Thursday. Referring to the Vienna Convention, the country asked India to ensure the safety of its diplomats and consular officials.

As some diplomats have received threats on various social media platforms, Global Affairs Canada is evaluating its staffing levels in India.

The crisis between Canada and India erupted on Monday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced in the House of Commons the possible role of the Indian Government in the murder of Canadian of Sikh origin Hardeep Singh Nijjar, which occurred in June in Surrey, British Columbia.

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The Indian Ministry of External Affairs reacted vehemently, calling the Canadian government’s accusations absurd.

These baseless allegations are aimed at diverting attention from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have taken refuge in Canada and continue to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. The Canadian government’s inaction on this issue has been a long-standing concern. mentioned the press release of the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar campaigned for the creation of a state, Khalistan, that would include Punjab, a Sikh-majority region shared between India and Pakistan. He was considered a terrorist by the National Investigation Agency, an Indian government agency dedicated to combating terrorism.

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Canada is home to the largest diaspora of people of the Sikh faith, that is, 771,790 people according to the 2021 Canadian census, ahead of the United Kingdom, which recorded 524,140 in 2021.

Expelled diplomats

Both countries responded by expelling high-level diplomats.

On Tuesday, a day after his statement in the House of Commons, Justin Trudeau said he was asking India to take this issue seriously, but that he was not seeking climbing with the fifth economic power in the world.

In its most recent update on September 18, Global Affairs Canada asks travelers to use extreme caution in India due to the threat of terrorist attacks across the country.

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