New Delhi: India will partially resume visa services in Canada — closed last month amid a diplomatic row — from October 26, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa said on October 25. Services will resume for entry visa, business visa, medical visa, and conference visa, the High Commission said.
“Further decisions, as appropriate, would be intimated based on continuing evaluation of the situation,” read the media statement from the High Commission. The visa services were suspended towards September-end as ties between the two nations faced severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force and one of India’s most-wanted terrorists.
Last week, foreign minister S Jaishankar said visa services to Canada could resume if India sees progress in the safety of Indian diplomats in Canada. It had attributed the suspension to “safety and security considerations” — a point the media statement underscored. “If we see progress in the safety of our diplomats in Canada, we would like to resume issuance of visas there,” Jaishankar said.
The diplomatic row, which escalated to involve tit-for-tat withdrawal of High Commission officials, snowballed after Trudeau’s comment on the sidelines of the G20 conference in Delhi. Canada will always “defend freedom of expression… conscience and peaceful protest,” Trudeau had said.