New Delhi: India has taken a tough measure against Canada on Thursday, as the diplomatic relations between the two countries have soured over the alleged involvement of Indian agents in the assassination of a Khalistani separatist leader in Canada. India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens who want to travel to India from Canada. This was announced on the website of BLS International, which handles visa applications for India. A notice on the website stated that the visa services have been suspended until further notice due to operational reasons.
The notice read, “Important information from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023 (Thursday), Indian visa services have been suspended until further notice.”
The suspension of visa services means that Canadian citizens who wish to visit India for tourism, business, education, or any other purpose will not be able to obtain a visa from Canada. They will have to apply for a visa from a third country or wait until the visa services are resumed.
The move comes a day after India issued an advisory to its citizens and those planning to travel to Canada to exercise “extreme caution” in view of the rising anti-India activities and politically supported hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada.
The advisory from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was issued in response to the allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Indian agents may have been involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani separatist leader who was shot dead in Surrey, British Columbia, in June.
India had strongly rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and had expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in retaliation for Canada expelling an Indian official over the case. In the advisory, the MEA had asked Indian students in Canada to exercise extreme caution and remain alert. It also said that India was in touch with many of its strategic partners in the West on this issue.
The tension in India-Canada relations has been building up for the last few months due to the increasing activities of pro-Khalistani elements in the North American country. India believes that the Trudeau government is not addressing its real concerns and is allowing anti-India forces to operate freely in Canada.