India Halts New Visas For Canadians, Trims Diplomatic Ties Amid Rising Tensions

In a significant diplomatic move, the Indian government has declared the suspension of new visas for Canadian citizens and asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic personnel in India. This action is a reflection of the escalating strain in the bilateral ties between the two countries.

What Happened: According to a report by Reuters on Thursday, the diplomatic dispute has intensified due to allegations from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, implicating India in the murder of a Sikh separatist. The Indian foreign ministry has indicated its readiness to examine specific information regarding the charges but highlighted that Canada has yet to share any such details.

This act of suspending new visas for a Western nation is an unprecedented move by India, marking a nadir in the relationship between India and Canada. This decision was announced shortly after certain Canadian diplomats in India faced threats on social media, compelling the Canadian High Commission to temporarily modify its staffing arrangement in India.

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Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry, mentioned that the halting of new visa services was a response to “security threats” experienced by Indian consulate personnel in Canada. Consequently, the Indian High Commission and consulates in Canada are temporarily unable to process visa applications.

Tensions between the two nations flared up on Monday when Trudeau claimed that Ottawa was examining “credible allegations” about the possible involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June. The Indian government has categorically denied any involvement in the alleged murder.

Why It Matters: This development indicates a significant escalation in the discord between the two countries, which have witnessed deteriorating relations over the years due to the issue of Sikh separatists. In response, both nations have announced retaliatory expulsions of senior diplomats and issued reciprocal travel advisories. The unfolding situation could further strain the already frayed ties and impact various aspects of the bilateral relationship, including trade and cultural exchanges.

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