India is set to recommence limited visa services in Canada starting October 26, following their suspension last month due to diplomatic tensions, as announced by the Indian High Commission in Ottawa. The services will be available for entry, business, medical, and conference visas. The High Commission’s media statement mentioned that any further decisions will be communicated based on the ongoing assessment of the situation.
The halt in visa services at the end of September was a result of heightened tensions between the two countries. This was after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested the possible involvement of Indian operatives in the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national and leader of the prohibited Khalistan Tiger Force, who was also on India’s most-wanted list.
India’s foreign minister, S Jaishankar, indicated on Sunday that visa services to Canada might be restored if there are improvements in the security of Indian diplomats in Canada. The initial suspension was linked to concerns about their safety, a sentiment echoed in the media statement.
Mr. Jaishankar expressed on Sunday, “If we observe enhancements in the security of our diplomats in Canada, we are inclined to restart visa issuance.”
The diplomatic disagreement, which led to the reciprocal withdrawal of High Commission staff, intensified after Mr. Trudeau’s remarks during the G20 conference in Delhi. He emphasized Canada’s commitment to “uphold freedom of expression, conscience, and peaceful protest.”
India dismissed the allegations regarding Nijjar’s death as “politically driven” and urged Canada to provide evidence to substantiate their claims, a plea that Ottawa has yet to address.
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