Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

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NEW DELHI — India went on the diplomatic offensive in opposition to Canada on Thursday, telling the nation to scale back staffing at its embassy and suspending the issuance of recent 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 will “quickly modify 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 stated in an electronic mail that it was taking this motion after some diplomats “obtained threats on varied social media platforms” and “in gentle of the present atmosphere 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 must be parity of in our mutual diplomatic presence,” he stated. “We predict their numbers are a lot greater, therefore there shall 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 Overseas Ministry urged its residents to “train excessive warning” when touring in Canada. An Indian visa processing firm on Thursday additionally stated visa providers for Canadian residents had been suspended in an “vital 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 might have been concerned within the capturing 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 stated 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 stated.

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

BLS Worldwide, the Indian firm that processes visa functions 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 stated the embassy and all consulates in India remained open and operational however that it was evaluating employees security.

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

A Canadian citizen who was born in India, Nijjar was shot useless in June by masked gunmen exterior 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 wished by India on terrorism prices, championed the Khalistan motion calling for creating an impartial Sikh state within the Punjab area of India. The motion is outlawed in India, the place authorities take into account it a high risk to nationwide safety.

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

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

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

Months earlier than Nijjar’s killing, India ramped up stress on Canada, Australia, Britain and the US — dwelling to important Sikh communities and frequent pro-Khalistan demonstrations — to crack down on the motion, together with by breaking apart protests exterior India’s diplomatic outposts.

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

Understanding India-Canada relations

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