India’s High Commission in Ottawa has announced the resumption of visa services for Canadians in specific categories, namely entry, business, medical, and conference visas. However, nine visa categories, including tourist, employment, student, film, missionary, and journalist visas, continue to be suspended.

This decision comes after visa services were halted on September 21 due to escalating diplomatic disagreements between India and Canada. On October 25, India resumed certain visa services for Canadian citizens.

The decision to reinstate specific visa services was taken after a thorough review of the security situation and in light of recent actions taken by Canada. This information, as relayed by the Indian authorities, remains subject to change, as noted by the Canadian Government.

India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, confirmed, “Only the aforementioned four categories have been reinstated, as outlined in the press release.” He further elaborated that the High Commission of India, along with the Consulates General in Toronto and Vancouver, had temporarily ceased visa services due to safety and security reasons. The decision to resume services in the four categories was taken after assessing the prevailing security situation and recent Canadian measures. The High Commission has expressed that any further decisions regarding visa services will be based on continuous evaluation of the ongoing situation.

Interestingly, while e-visas are available to 165 nations, Canada is not among them. E-visa services for Canadians were briefly available in December of the previous year but had been discontinued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The backdrop to these visa suspensions can be traced to the statement made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 18, alluding to possible connections between Indian officials and the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a pro-Khalistan advocate, in Surrey, British Columbia. Following this, both nations expelled one diplomat each. Canada recently withdrew 41 diplomats from India after being informed they would lose diplomatic immunity if they stayed. Canada labeled this a “mass expulsion” of its diplomatic corps, while India expressed its intention to equalize diplomat numbers.

Nijjar, a key figure for the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice in British Columbia, was fatally shot in the parking area of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey. Although India labeled Nijjar a terrorist, these allegations were never formally evaluated in a Canadian court. Canada has yet to offer any concrete evidence linking New Delhi to Nijjar’s death.

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