Only Delhi window would remain open
New Delhi, October 20, 2023: As per media reports, Canada withdrew 41 diplomats and 42 accompanying dependents from India following instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs here.
According to the news published in The Tribune, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said at a press conference “We are going to pause all in-person services at our consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bengaluru,”
Her statement suggested that only the Delhi window would remain open.
“I can confirm that India has formally conveyed its plan to unilaterally remove diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by October 20,” announced Joly at a press conference.
MEA had told Canada to reduce its diplomatic staff by October 20. “We had no choice but to comply. The safety of Canadians, of our diplomats, is always my top concern,” Joly said.
Joly claimed that Indians were suggesting lack of security for the diplomats if they did not leave.
“The safety of Canadians and of our diplomats is always my top concern.
Given the implications of India’s actions on the safety of our diplomats, we have facilitated their safe departure from India,” she said, adding that it was a “clear violation” of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. “And threatening to do so is unreasonable and escalatory,” she added.
The latest development is due to strained ties after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged a potential Indian government link in the murder of Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil.
India and Canada have also thrown out the respective station heads of their intelligence services.
The fresh development came even as India has stopped issuance of visa services in Canada, badly hitting travel to India. The issue was flagged by Rajya Sabha member from Punjab Vikramjit Singh Sahney, who wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that he was getting calls “every day from Indian diaspora, especially Punjabis, regarding their inability to get Indian visa for family exigencies.
“Every second home in Punjab has one or the other family member in Canada. In case of staff shortage in Indian missions, granting of e-visas can be considered,” he had suggested.