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September 22, 2023 9:37 AM IST

Canada’s allegations seem to be politically driven: MEA Spokesperson

MEA press briefing | visa applications in Canada | India-Canada tensions

Amid the ongoing diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “There’s a degree of prejudice, to us these allegations seem to be primarily politically driven.”

Addressing a press briefing on Thursday, the MEA Spokesperson talked about the Nijjar case, in which the Canadian Prime Minister had accused the Indian government. The spokesperson said, “No specific information was shared by Canada on this case. We are willing to look at specific information and have conveyed it to the Canadian side. But so far have not received any such specific information.”

Spokesperson Bagchi further clearing the Indian side, informed that specific information regarding criminal activities by individuals based on Canadian soil has been shared on a regular basis but has not been acted upon. 

On increasing security at Indian Consulate in Canada, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have always believed that it is the host government’s responsibility to provide security. Some places we have our own security posture also. But, I don’t want to discuss security measures in public.”

Addressing the threat scenario being witnessed in Canada, Bagchi said, “Safe haven is being provided in Canada, we want the Canadian government to not do so and take action against those who have terrorism charges or send them here to face justice…” He further stated that the Indian government has sought either extradition request or assistance related to the issue. He also mentioned that over the years the requests for at least more than 20-25 individuals have been made but the response has not been helpful at all.

Visa process temporarily suspended 

On Visa services in Canada, Bagchi said that due to the security threats being faced by the Indian High Commission and Consulates in Canada the normal functioning has been disrupted and thus are temporarily unable to process visa applications. In response to these threats, a temporary suspension of all visa categories to Canadian citizens, including e-visas has been announced. However, the MEA spokesperson provided assurance that individuals holding valid Indian visas can travel to India without any issues. 

“The issue is not about travel to India. Those who have valid visas, OCIs are free to travel to India. The issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that disrupts the functioning of our consulates which is what is making us stop temporarily the issuance of visa services. We will review this situation on a regular basis,” Arindam Bagchi said. 

Saying that Indian government takes its obligations very seriously, the MEA Spokesperson said all security to foreign diplomats in India will be provided. He added that the same is expected from the Canadian authorities to show sensitivity to the Indian diplomats in Canada.

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