October 26, 2023
NEW DELHI – A month after their suspension, India will partially resume some visa services for Canadian nationals from October 26, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa said on Wednesday. India last month suspended the visa services citing security concerns amid a massive diplomatic row over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen designated terrorist by New Delhi.
The Indian High Commission said that it will resume services for entry visa, business visa, medical visa and conference visa for now and further decisions will be announced after evaluating the situation.
“After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard, it has been decided to resume visa services for the following categories with effect from october 26, 2023: Entry Visa, Business Visa, Medical Visa and Conference Visa…” the India High Commission in Canada said in a press release.
The development comes days after Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is willing to resume visa services for Canadians and a decision will be taken in this regard as soon as New Delhi notices improvement in the safety of its diplomats in Indian missions across Canada.
Earlier on September 21, India had suspended its visa services in Canada and asked the North American nation to have parity in the diplomatic strength between New Delhi and Ottawa, alleging security threats to its diplomats and the interference of Canadian diplomatic in the country internal affairs amid escalating tensions over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
The diplomatic row erupted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged New Delhi’s role in the extra judicial killing of Nijjar. The Khalistani terrorist was gunned down by two masked men in the parking lot of a Gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
India rubbished the Canadian prime minister’s allegations, terming them “absurd and politically motivated”. It also asked the Canadian PM to provide specific evidence backing his claim.
Ottawa failed to give India any such information but Trudeau’s allegations snowballed into a major diplomatic row with India threatening to revoke diplomatic immunity of all but 21 Canadian diplomats.
Earlier this month, Canada recalled 41 diplomats but cried foul and accused India of violating the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
However, Jaishankar rejected Canadian allegations and said that the clause of Parity was very much provided for in the Vienna Convention. The foreign minister said that India was forced to invoke the parity clause after continuous interference by Canadian diplomats in the country’s internal affairs.