India stops giving visas to Canadians as the dispute gets worse. India has ceased issuing permits to Canadians amid escalating tensions over the assassination of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.
India cited “security threats” for temporarily relocating its missions in Canada. Visa services for Canada remain available in India.
This week, tensions flared after Canada’s leader suggested India was possibly implicated in the 18 June killing.
India vehemently refuted the accusation, labeling it “ridiculous.”
For months, essential trade and security partners, US allies, and relations have been fraught. According to analysts, they are now at an all-time low.
The Indian government quickly clarified that the suspension of visa services “applies to Canadians in a third country as well.”
“Threats have been made against our high commission [embassy] and consulates in Canada,” a spokesman for India’s foreign affairs ministry said. This has prevented them from functioning normally. Consequently, they are temporarily unable to process visa requests.”
He stated, “India is seeking rank and diplomatic strength parity between the two countries’ diplomatic missions.” This is desired due to Canadian diplomatic interference in our domestic affairs.”
Hours earlier, Canada disclosed that it was reducing its personnel in India, citing social media threats against diplomats.
In light of the heightened tensions in the current environment, we are taking steps to assure the safety of our diplomats, according to a statement.
Historic connections exist between the two nations, and much is at stake. Canada has 1.4 million individuals of Indian origin – more than half of them Sikhs – making up 3.7% of the country’s population, according to the 2021 census. India also sends the most international students to Canada; in 2022, they accounted for 40% of all international students, or 320,000.
According to Indian government statistics, approximately 80,000 Canadian travelers visited India in 2021, ranking fourth behind the United States, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom.On Monday, Canada publicly implicated India in the murder of Canadian separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in his vehicle by two masked assailants outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia.
Canada’s intelligence agencies are investigating whether “agents of the government of India” were involved in the assassination of Nijjar, whom India designated a terrorist in 2020, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
India responded angrily, stating that Canada attempted to “shift the focus away from the Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who were granted refuge in Canada. The Indian government has frequently responded with hostility to Western Sikh separatists’ demands for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh homeland.
In the 1980s, the Khalistan movement reached its zenith in India with a violent insurgency centered in the Sikh-majority state of Punjab.
It was suppressed by force and has little resonance in India today; however, it remains popular among some members of the Sikh diaspora in nations such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.