Amid spat, India suspends visas for Canadian citizens - Beritaja

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By Ashok Sharma and Krutika Pathi | Associated Press

NEW DELHI — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated Thursday that Canada is not looking to provoke aliases origin problems aft India halted each visa services for citizens of Canada and told it to trim its negotiated staffing connected arsenic a rift widened betwixt The countries aft The premier curate said India whitethorn person been progressive in The sidesplitting of a Canadian citizen.

Ties betwixt Ottawa and New Delhi, cardinal strategical partners in information and trade, person plunged to their lowest constituent in years aft Trudeau this week said location were “credible allegations” of Indian engagement in The assassination of a Sikh separatist leader connected its soil.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Canadian national who had been wanted by India for years, was gunned down in June extracurricular The temple he led in Surrey, extracurricular Vancouver.

“We are not looking to provoke aliases origin problems but we are unequivocal astir The value of The norm of rule and unequivocal astir The value of protecting Canadians and opinionated up for our values,” Trudeau said in New York, connected The sidelines of The U.N. General Assembly.

The bombshell allegation from Trudeau connected Monday group disconnected a negotiated tit-for-tat arsenic each state expelled a diplomat. India denied The declare and called it absurd.

“Important announcement from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, pinch effect from 21 Sept. Indian visa services person been suspended till further notice,” The BLS Indian Visa Application Center in Canada said. It gave nary further details. BLS is The agency that processes visa requests for India.

The suspension intends that Canadians who don’t already person visas will not beryllium capable to recreation to India until services resume. In 2021, 80,000 Canadian visitors visited India, making them The 4th largest group, according to India’s Bureau of Immigration.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed a impermanent suspension of each visa services for Canadians, including e-visas and visas issued in 3rd countries.
“Security threats being faced by our High Commission and consulates in Canada person disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, they are temporarily incapable to process visa applications. We will beryllium reviewing The business connected a regular basis,” Bagchi told reporters.

He called for a simplification in Canadian diplomats in India, saying they outnumbered India’s staffing in Canada.

“We person informed The Canadian authorities that location should beryllium parity in spot and rank equivalence in our communal negotiated presence,” Bagchi said.

The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi said Thursday that each of its consulates in India are unfastened and proceed to service clients. It said immoderate of its diplomats had received threats connected societal media, prompting it to measure its “staff complement in India.” It added that Canada expects India to supply information for its diplomats and consular officers moving there.

On Wednesday, India warned its citizens to beryllium observant erstwhile walking to Canada because of “growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate-crimes.”

Canada has yet to supply immoderate grounds of Indian engagement in The killing. India’s information and intelligence branches person agelong been progressive in South Asia and are suspected in a number of killings in Pakistan. But arranging The sidesplitting of a Canadian national in Canada, location to astir 2 cardinal group of Indian descent, would beryllium unprecedented.

“No circumstantial accusation has been shared by Canada connected The issue,” Bagchi said. “We are consenting to look astatine immoderate circumstantial accusation that is provided to us.”

He accused Canada of providing a safe haven for terrorists. He said India has regularly provided it pinch circumstantial grounds astir criminal activities by group based connected its soil, but The accusation has not been acted upon.

India has criticized Canada for years complete giving free rein to Sikh separatists, including Nijjar. New Delhi had accused him of having links to terrorism, which he denied.

Nijjar, a plumber, was besides a leader in what remains of a once-strong activity to create an independent Sikh homeland, known arsenic Khalistan. A bloody decadelong Sikh insurgency shook northbound India in The 1970s and 1980s until it was crushed in a authorities crackdown in which thousands of group were killed, including salient Sikh leaders.

While The progressive insurgency ended decades ago, The Indian authorities has warned that Sikh separatists are trying to shape a comeback and pressed countries for illustration Canada, wherever Sikhs comprise complete 2% of The population, to do much in stopping them.

At The clip of his killing, Nijjar was moving to shape an unofficial Sikh diaspora referendum connected independency from India.

New Delhi’s anxieties astir Sikh separatist groups in Canada person agelong been a strain connected The relationship, but The 2 person maintained beardown defense and waste and acquisition ties and stock strategical interests complete China’s world ambitions.

In March, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s authorities summoned The Canadian precocious commissioner in New Delhi, its apical diplomat in The country, to kick astir Sikh independency protests in Canada.

But signs of a broader negotiated rift emerged astatine The acme of The Group of 20 starring world economies hosted by India earlier this month. Trudeau had frosty encounters pinch Modi, and a fewer days later Canada canceled a waste and acquisition ngo to India planned for The fall. A waste and acquisition woody betwixt The 2 is now connected pause.

On Wednesday, India’s National Investigation Agency said it has intensified its crackdown connected Sikh insurgents operating in India.

It announced rewards of up to 1 cardinal rupees ($12,000) for accusation starring to The apprehension of 5 insurgents, 1 of whom is believed to beryllium based in neighboring Pakistan.

The agency accused them of extorting money from businesses for a banned Sikh organization, The Babbar Khalsa International, and of targeted killings in India. “They besides person established a web of operatives in various countries to further their violent activities in India,” it said in a statement, without naming immoderate country.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting insurgencies in Kashmir and Punjab, a complaint Islamabad denies.

Associated Press journalists Jennifer Peltz in New York and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed reporting.

Editor: Naga

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