In a significant escalation of the ongoing diplomatic dispute between India and Canada, India has suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens “till further notice.” The move, which has raised concerns about the future of bilateral relations, comes after a series of allegations and actions by both countries.
The latest development centers around the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a pro-Khalistan Sikh activist who was a Canadian citizen. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that his country’s security agencies had information indicating “agents of the Indian government” were involved in Nijjar’s assassination on Canadian soil. He labeled this alleged involvement as an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”
India swiftly rejected Trudeau’s claims, dismissing them as “absurd” and “motivated.” The Indian government expressed its concerns over political figures in Canada openly sympathizing with elements it considers to be Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have found shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty.
In response to these tensions, both nations took diplomatic measures. Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat, while India ordered a top Canadian diplomat to leave the country, citing interference in internal matters and involvement in “anti-India activities.”
The suspension of Indian visas for Canadians has been met with uncertainty regarding its connection to the ongoing diplomatic row. A notice issued by BLS International, which manages online visa application centers in Canada, cited “operational reasons” for the suspension but did not specify if it was linked to the dispute.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs released a statement expressing deep concerns over the actions of the Canadian government and its perceived inaction regarding Khalistani extremists in Canada. India’s advisory to its citizens also urged them to “exercise utmost caution” when considering travel to Canada due to “growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence.”