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India stops Visa services in Canada, row escalates!

As of Thursday, India has officially put a hold on visa services in Canada. This comes after the strained diplomatic relations between Canada and India as a result of an enduring dispute over the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Canadian government first took the step by revising its travel advisory for Canadians visiting India. Canadian officials warned their citizens on Tuesday to “exercise a high degree of caution” when visiting India, citing the “threat of terrorist attack throughout the country.” And a day after this update, India has formally stopped visa services in Canada on Thursday, 21st September, until further notice.

According to sources, this announcement was publicly published on the official visa facility website of the Indian High Commission in Canada, further hurting the two countries’ already strained relationship. All these moves come after rising tensions and accusations between the two countries, complicating their diplomatic ties even further. The diplomatic divide between Canada and India was created in June by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of evidence implicating India in the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar was the chief of the separatist organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) as well as the head of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, Canada.

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At the age of 46, he was assassinated on the gurdwara grounds by two unidentified assailants. In reaction to Trudeau’s remarks, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs categorically rejected any involvement, calling the charges “absurd and motivated.” They issued an official statement condemning the words of both the Canadian Prime Minister and the Canadian Foreign Minister. The rise of conflict provoked a number of diplomatic reactions. On Monday, Canada took the first move by dismissing a high-ranking Indian diplomat, citing concerns about the Nijjar case.

In reaction, the Indian government dismissed a top Canadian diplomat on Tuesday, worsening bilateral tensions even further. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs explained the decision in an official statement by expressing its growing concern about Canadian diplomats’ intervention in Indian internal matters and alleged engagement in anti-India actions. In the midst of these rising tensions, the Canadian government has opted to put the safety of its citizens visiting India. Canadians are warned to “exercise a high degree of caution” when visiting India, according to the updated travel alert, due to the perceived “threat of terrorist attack throughout the country.”

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This advice stresses the vitality of Canadian travellers maintaining vigilance and situational awareness while in India. The advisory also suggests that Canadians stay updated about the local situation, follow local authorities’ instructions, and keep a low profile. Travellers are urged to avoid huge crowds, demonstrations, and places with increased security. Canadians are also encouraged to register with the Canadian government’s Registration of Canadians Abroad service in order to get crucial information and assistance in the event of an emergency. Source: The Indian Express

By,Ashbiha Fathima

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