In the latest development concerning the India-Canada dispute, Canada has withdrawn 41 diplomats from India, along with 42 of their dependents. As of October 19, Canada now maintains 21 diplomats in India, as stated by Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.
This diplomatic reduction comes in the wake of a disagreement related to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani terrorist. In response to this issue, New Delhi had previously requested Ottawa to scale down its diplomatic presence, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had alluded to credible evidence of potential ties between Indian agents and the incident. India has vehemently rejected these allegations, deeming them ‘absurd’ and ‘politically motivated,’ leading to a significant strain in relations between the two nations.
Foreign Minister Joly also noted that while Canada’s high commission in New Delhi remains operational, in-person services at consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bangalore have been temporarily suspended.
With the suspension of consular services in three significant cities, individuals in need of consular assistance will now have to rely solely on the High Commission in New Delhi. Officials have expressed concerns that this adjustment may lead to delays in the processing of immigration applications. Consequently, Canada has issued a travel advisory, specifying regions in India where consular staffing has been reduced.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller said the diplomats’ departure meant Canada would slash the number of embassy staff dealing with immigration. “We acknowledge the concerns and frustrations that this situation may cause for clients, families, educational institutions, communities, businesses in Canada as a whole,” he told the press conference. Visa application centers in India are operated by third-party contractors and would not be affected, he said.
It’s worth noting that approximately 2 million Canadians, constituting around 5% of the total population, have their roots in India. Moreover, India stands as the primary source of international students for Canada, accounting for approximately 40% of all study permit holders.