Canada, on Monday, again sparked a major row by updating its travel advisory, wherein it cautioned its citizens about the tension between the two nations and alerted them about the entry and exit to New Delhi. In its latest advisory, it said that the visa services are suspended.
“In the context of recent developments in Canada and in India, there are calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada on social media. Please remain vigilant and exercise caution,” read the latest advisory.
The latest development came a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau landed his country in a major controversy by linking the murder of Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, with Indian agents– a claim New Delhi rejected outrightly.
Subsequently, the tension between the two nations soared to a new low and this prompted the expulsion of diplomats from their respective countries. Responding to the allegations of Trudeau that he has “credible information” about India’s link with the killing of the extremist, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected the claims and said Ottawa did not proffer any “proof” that could ascertain Canadian PM’s claim.
The Ministry asked the Canadian Embassy in New Delhi to minimise the diplomatic presence as it considers Ottawa had many staff whose roles were questionable. Also, New Delhi announced the suspension of visa services for Canadians.
BLS International, which runs the visa application centres in Canada, published a message on its Canadian site. “Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21st September 2023 [Thursday], Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” read the notice.
Trudeau says he does want to provoke India
Earlier last week, Trudeau clarified that he was not trying to provoke New Delhi but rather wanted his Indian counterpart to address the issue properly.
“The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” news agency Reuters quoted the Canadian PM as saying to reporters on Tuesday.
The statement from Washington came after Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the expelled Indian diplomat was the head of Indian intelligence in Canada and added her PM also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.