Ottawa: India has announced that it will resume some visa services in Canada from October 26, after suspending them last month due to security concerns. The Indian High Commission in Ottawa said that visa services for entry visas, business visas, medical visas, and conference visa categories will be available for applicants. However, other visa categories such as tourist visas, student visas, and employment visas will remain suspended until further notice.
The decision to restart some visa services comes amid a diplomatic spat between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani terrorist in Canada. In June, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had accused India of “possible” involvement of its agents in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted terrorist in India. India had strongly rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and had expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in retaliation for Ottawa expelling an Indian official over the case.
The visa row affected the bilateral relations between the two countries, which have a large Indian diaspora. India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had recently said that India-Canada relations were “going through a difficult phase”. He also expressed hope that the two countries would be able to resolve their differences through dialogue and cooperation.
The Indian High Commission in Ottawa said that it had temporarily stopped processing visa applications due to threats and violence promoted by the Canadian government, which created an environment that disrupted the functioning of its mission and consulates. It said that it would continue to review the situation regularly and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of its staff and premises. It also appealed to the public not to spread any rumors or false information about the visa issue.