Thu. May 23rd, 2024

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NEW DELHI — India went on the diplomatic offensive in opposition to Canada on Thursday, telling the nation to cut back staffing at its embassy and suspending the issuance of latest visas for Canadians wishing to go to India, because the fallout from the alleged assassination of a Sikh separatist chief in British Columbia widened dramatically.

The feedback from the Ministry of Exterior Affairs got here a number of hours after Canada’s embassy in New Delhi introduced Thursday it might “quickly alter employees presence” to guard its diplomats from threats, and days after the 2 governments expelled senior diplomats recognized because the respective station chiefs of their intelligence providers.

The Canadian Excessive Fee in India mentioned in an e mail that it was taking this motion after some diplomats “obtained threats on varied social media platforms” and “in gentle of the present setting the place tensions have heightened.”

In a sequence of sharply-worded statements to reporters, Indian Ministry of Exterior Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi accused Canada of “diplomatic interference in our inside affairs.”

“We had knowledgeable the Canadian there ought to be parity of in our mutual diplomatic presence,” he mentioned. “We predict their numbers are a lot greater, therefore there will likely be a discount. Bagchi additionally confirmed that India had stopped issuing new visas, attributing the pause to safety threats to Indian diplomats in Canada and a staffing scarcity there.

On Wednesday, an up to date journey advisory from India’s International Ministry urged its residents to “train excessive warning” when touring in Canada. An Indian visa processing firm on Thursday additionally mentioned visa providers for Canadian residents had been suspended in an “necessary discover from the Indian mission” on its web site.

Trudeau says ‘credible allegations’ tie India to killing in Canada

Tensions are rising after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian brokers could have been concerned within the taking pictures of Sikh chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India has denied Trudeau’s accusation, describing it as “absurd and motivated” whereas accusing Canada of an anti-Indian agenda.

In its journey advisory, India’s Exterior Affairs Ministry cited what it mentioned had been “anti-India actions and politically-condoned hate crimes” within the nation. “All Indian nationals there and people considering journey are urged to train utmost warning,” the ministry mentioned.

Dominic LeBlanc, the Canadian minister of public security, dismissed the advisory, calling Canada a protected nation. “I took word of India’s journey advisory. Folks can learn into that what they need,” he instructed reporters on Wednesday.

BLS Worldwide, the Indian firm that processes visa purposes in Canada, cited “operational causes” for the suspension of visa providers “until additional discover,” with out elaborating.

Indian anger in opposition to Canada grows over perceived help of separatist Sikhs

Canada’s Excessive Fee in India mentioned the embassy and all consulates in India remained open and operational however that it was evaluating employees security.

“We anticipate India to supply for the safety of our accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, simply as we’re for theirs right here,” it mentioned in an emailed assertion.

A Canadian citizen who was born in India, Nijjar was shot useless in June by masked gunmen outdoors a Sikh temple that he led in Surrey, British Columbia.

Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Sikh separatist killed in Canada?

The 45-year-old Nijjar, who was needed by India on terrorism prices, championed the Khalistan motion calling for creating an unbiased Sikh state within the Punjab area of India. The motion is outlawed in India, the place authorities take into account it a prime menace to nationwide safety.

Because the rift has escalated, Trudeau mentioned earlier this week that Canada was not “seeking to provoke or escalate,” calling on India to take critically what he has described as “credible allegations.”

“We’re merely laying out the details as we perceive them, and we need to work with the federal government of India,” he instructed reporters.

India has lengthy accused the Canadian authorities of sympathizing with Sikh separatists corresponding to Nijjar, whom it thought of a terrorist, whereas Canada has denied these claims.

Months earlier than Nijjar’s killing, India ramped up strain on Canada, Australia, Britain and the USA — house to vital Sikh communities and frequent pro-Khalistan demonstrations — to crack down on the motion, together with by breaking apart protests outdoors India’s diplomatic outposts.

Francis reported from London. Andrew Jeong in Seoul contributed to this report.

Understanding India-Canada relations

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