India suspends visa services in Canada amid diplomatic spat

Canada is providing safe havens to terrorists: India 

Canada’s allegations on killings politically driven, says MEA 

Trudeau Thursday doubles down on charges against India

New Delhi: India’s visa processing center in Canada suspended services Thursday as a rift widened between the countries after Canada’s leader said India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen.

Speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Trudeau Thursday acknowledged the complicated diplomatic situation he faces. “There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with,” he said. “We are not looking to provoke or cause problems but we are unequivocal about the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians.”

The Indian ministry of external affairs on Thursday said Canada’s allegations against India are politically driven. The statement came from MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during the weekly media briefing at a time India and Canada’s diplomatic ties are going through the roughest patch.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Parliament on Monday that there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the assassination of Sikh independence activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had been wanted by India for years and was gunned down in June outside the temple he led.

Canada also expelled an Indian diplomat, and India followed by expelling a Canadian diplomat on Tuesday. It called the allegations being investigated in Canada absurd and an attempt to shift attention from the presence of Nijjar and other wanted suspects in Canada.

“Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 Sept. Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” the BLS Indian Visa Application Center in Canada said. It gave no further details. BLS is the agency that processes visa requests for India.

The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi said all its consulates in India are open and are continuing to provide services.

In 2021, 80,000 Canadian tourists visited India, making them the fourth largest group, according to India’s Bureau of Immigration. Canada is an attractive destination for Indians, especially students. In 2022, nearly 300,000 Indians were pursuing higher education in Canada.

Image courtesy of Millennium Post

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