Tensions following the shooting of a Sikh separatist caused the nation to scale back its diplomatic presence, but it has stated it will not retaliate. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly declared that Canada had pulled out 41 diplomats from India due to a disagreement over the killing of a Sikh separatist and that Ottawa would not take any more action.
Following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement last month that there was probable evidence of a connection between Indian agents and the June shooting death of 45-year-old Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia, New Delhi requested that Ottawa scale back its diplomatic presence.
According to Joly, if the diplomats don’t leave by Friday, India has threatened to cancel their official status unilaterally. She claimed that this action was irrational, unheard of, and blatantly against the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“Given the implications of India’s actions on the safety of our diplomats, we have facilitated their safe departure from India,” she told a press conference.
“If we allow the norm of diplomatic immunity to be broken, no diplomats anywhere on the planet would be safe. So for this reason, we will not reciprocate,” she said.
Since Trudeau openly connected Indian intelligence to the death of Nijjar, a Canadian citizen that New Delhi had designated as a “terrorist,” ties between India and Canada have deteriorated dramatically.
Canada has requested that India assist in the investigation; however, New Delhi has denied the accusations and responded by, among other things, terminating Canadian visa services.
Due to the issue, Ottawa also dismissed an Indian diplomat.
Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said last month in New York that his country would be open to evaluate any proof offered by Canada .
“We have actually been badgering the Canadians. We’ve given them loads of information about organized crime leadership which operates out of Canada ,” Jaishankar said, referring to Sikh separatists.
“We have a situation where actually our diplomats are threatened, our consulates have been attacked and often comments are made [that are] interference in our politics,” he said.
Approximately 2 million Canadians, or 5% of the country’s total population, are of Indian descent. Roughly 770,000 Sikhs, or 2% of the total population, reside in Canada, and a sizable portion of them advocate for the establishment of a distinct state called Khalistan.
The departure of the diplomats meant that Canada would reduce the number of embassy employees who dealt with immigration, according to Immigration Minister Marc Miller.
During the news conference, he stated, “We acknowledge the concerns and frustrations that this situation may cause for clients, families, educational institutions, communities, and businesses in Canada as a whole.”
India accounts for about 40% of study permit holders in Canada, making it the country from which most international students come.
According to Miller, visa application centers in India are run by independent contractors and will not be impacted.