New Delhi, October 20
Visa services will be badly affected after Canada withdrew 41 diplomats and 42 accompanying dependents from India following a diktat from the Ministry of External Affairs here.
“We are going to pause all in-person services at our consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bengaluru,” announced Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly at a press conference. Her statement suggested that only the Delhi window would remain open.
“India’s decision to declare persona non grata is unreasonable. But we will not retaliate,” added Joly.
She said only 21 Canadian diplomats remain in India. Canada maintained a larger complement of diplomatic staff here than India in Canada on grounds that it had to process huge amounts of visas, especially for students who touched a record 2.26 lakh in 2022. In all, the Canadian missions in India processed over six lakh visas.
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.
“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.
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 terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. India and Canada have also thrown out the respective station heads of their intelligence services.