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India on Thursday suspended visa services in Canada citing ‘operational reasons’. The move comes amid the souring relationship between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
A private agency, BLS, hired for initial scrutiny of visa applications of Canadians put out a note on its website, conveying “Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking the BLS website for further updates."
The row over Khalistani terrorism
After the ‘not so pleasant’ discussion around the Khalistani issue between the prime ministers of India and Canada during the G20 meeting in Delhi earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that his government was investigating “credible allegations" that Indian government agents were linked to the June 18 slaying, when Nijjar was gunned down outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
He also said though Canada is not trying to provoke India, strong measures need to be taken.
“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," Reuters quoted him as saying on Tuesday.
The tit-for-tat dynamic
India, however, denied any role in the killing, calling the allegations absurd.
The tension seems to be escalating further as both the countries are taking measures reflecting a tit-for-tat dynamic in their diplomatic relations. As Canada expels Indian diplomat; India responds with a reciprocal expulsion.
On Wednesday, India told its citizens to avoid travelling to parts of Canada, following a diplomatic row sparked by the allegation that New Delhi was involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist near Vancouver.