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India’s Visa Services for Canada: A Diplomatic Tug of War

Introduction

The diplomatic tensions between India and Canada have been escalating since the suspension of visa services for Canadians in September. This move came after security threats disrupted work at Indian missions in Canada. India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has now stated that resuming visa services for Canadian citizens is contingent upon the safety of Indian diplomats in Canada. As these nations confront one another, it’s essential to delve deeper into the events leading up to the current situation and explore how diplomacy may play a pivotal role moving forward.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s Stance

According to Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, India will consider reinstating visas for Canadian citizens if there’s progress in ensuring the safety of its diplomats in Canada. The relationship between the two nations further deteriorated following Canadian authorities’ investigations into alleged ties between the Indian government and a Sikh leader’s assassination. In response, India refuted these allegations as “absurd.”

Concerns Over Diplomatic Safety

India had already voiced concerns about its officials’ safety in Canada before tensions heightened, attributing threats to supporters of an independent Sikh homeland – Khalistan. Following a pro-Khalistan rally, Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly assured that her country takes its obligations regarding diplomats’ safety “very seriously.”

Disruptions in Diplomatic Missions

Amid these security concerns, Indian foreign ministry spokespersons reported disruptions at their embassy and consulates in Canada due to received threats. Concurrently, Canadian diplomats also experienced threats on various social media platforms. Consequently, visa services for Canadians were temporarily suspended.

Withdrawal of Diplomats and Immunity Issues

India recently requested that Canada withdraw dozens of its staff members, warning that they would lose their immunity if they remained in the country. This decision led to 41 Canadian diplomats departing from India. Canadian officials decried this move as a “violation of international law,” prompting both US and UK officials to express concerns as well.

Jaishankar’s Vienna Convention Reference

Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar noted that India’s insistence on maintaining diplomatic parity aligns with the Vienna Convention provisions on diplomatic relations, countering the allegations of international law violations.

The Importance of Indo-Canadian Relations

Indo-Canadian ties play a significant role in both countries’ social and economic landscapes. Canada is home to over 1.4 million people of Indian origin, with more than half identifying as Sikh. Additionally, the largest population of international students in Canada hails from India – comprising 40% of overseas students in 2022. With approximately 80,000 Canadian tourists visiting India in 2021, there is a considerable scope for collaboration between these nations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the resumption of visa services between India and Canada hinges on the safety of Indian diplomats in the latter country. The ongoing tensions, fueled by the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada and allegations of Indian involvement, have strained relations between the two nations. As diplomatic discussions continue, it remains to be seen if these issues can be resolved to restore full diplomatic ties and reinstate visa services, which will significantly impact their citizens’ travel, education, and cultural exchanges.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The published information is sourced from various trusted platforms, such as news agencies and online media, mainly the Government of Canada and Canadian online media/websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult a lawyer/s and receive professional advice before making decisions or applications.

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