Canadian authorities have not stopped issuing visas to Indian nationals looking to enter the north American country.
More than half of Canada’s 1.4 million people of Indian heritage, or 3.7% of the population, are Sikhs, according to the 2021 census. 40% of all international students (320,000) studying in Canada in 2022 will come from India, which also sends the most students there.
After Delhi announced that Canadian visa services will be discontinued due to “security threats” faced by its embassies and consulates in Canada, relations between India and Canada deteriorated even more.
In this blog, let’s understand how it all started.
Why Did India Stopped Issuing New Visas for Canada Till Further Notice
The Indian government says it’s due to security concerns at visa offices in Canada.
The issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that disrupts the functioning of our consulates which is what is making us stop temporarily the issuance of visa services(source-hindustantimes).
We will review this situation on a regular basis,” the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.
India & Canada Visa Issue: How Did It All Start?
At the moment, Canadians cannot obtain visa services in India. Due to some issues they are having, they temporarily stopped providing these services.
Through a spokesperson named Arindam Bagchi, the Indian government made this announcement. According to him, they had to do this for “operational reasons.” Therefore, they are currently unable to continue issuing visas to citizens of Canada.
Violence is one of the major problems. Because Canadian authorities aren’t doing enough to put a stop to it, India is concerned that there might be violence. They have serious concerns about that.
Another reason is that they believe Canada is sheltering members of the Khalistan movement. The Indian government is opposed to this group’s desire for Sikh independence. Because Canada has a large Sikh population, this is a sensitive subject.
This all began when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed to have evidence that India was involved in a murder in British Columbia. India claims this is not true, and they are outraged. As a result, they switched top diplomats with Canada, much like important representatives.
India is also concerned that Canada is failing to prevent some dangerous individuals from committing crimes there. They consider this to be politically motivated, and this presents a significant challenge for them. Therefore, Canadians won’t be able to obtain visas to travel to India until conditions improve.
Is Delhi’s Reputation Harmed?
Bagchi, the spokesperson, suggests Canada focus on its image as a safe place for terrorists. Delhi’s reputation shouldn’t be the primary concern. Canada must address concerns about sheltering individuals involved in terrorism. This is a significant concern for India.
On the other hand, Trudeau, speaking from the United Nations, has expressed a desire to de-escalate the tensions between the two nations. He emphasizes the need for cooperation from India to uncover the truth about the Nijjar case. Trudeau remains steadfast in his commitment to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the interests of Canadian citizens.
Despite the mounting pressure in Canada for more evidence regarding Trudeau’s “credible allegations,” the Prime Minister has not yet committed to providing such evidence. This lack of clarity has led to increased scrutiny and speculation surrounding the issue.
India is urging its citizens to be extremely cautious when traveling in Canada. This advisory is in response to ongoing tensions and alleged anti-India activities in the country. It points out the worsening relations between India and Canada, citing an increase in politically sanctioned hate crimes and anti-Indian sentiment as reasons for concern.
What Is The Travel Visa Advisory Issued By Canada?
The travel advisory issued by Canada itself for its nationals traveling to India warns of a “threat of terrorist attack throughout the country.” The decision to halt trade negotiations was made public by both parties.
The foreign ministry of Canada also announced to Canadian media that they were “temporarily adjusting staff” at the Canadian high commission in Delhi after certain diplomatic personnel in India received internet threats.
According to Bagchi, conversations between the two countries over “parity” in diplomatic presence are anticipated to result in a reduction of Canadian diplomatic staff in India. On Thursday, Global Affairs Canada made the announcement that it has started to lay off staff.
The Canadian government did not say how many personnel were let go, but it did say that it anticipated India to continue providing security in the face of rising tensions even while the high commission would continue to function.
India and Canada have long held disagreements over Khalistan, a movement that seeks to turn Punjab into an independent Sikh state. There is a substantial Sikh diaspora in Canada, and according to India, the Canadian government is ignoring Khalistani militancy on its own soil.
The Indian government declared Nijjar, a Sikh activist who passed away in June, to be a terrorist in 2020 on the grounds that he had taken part in a violent assault on India and belonged to the banned Khalistan Tiger Force.
It might have a big impact if Canada places similar visa restrictions on Indian nationals. Indians led the list of legal immigrants to Canada last year, and more than 118,000 of them will become citizens in 2022. More than 320,000 Indian students are enrolled at universities across Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the MEA on Thursday, a Canadian citizen will not be allowed to apply for an Indian visa even if they reside abroad.
No, with the exception of persons with valid visas, India has suspended all visa services for Canadian citizens.
Their present visas are still valid. They can seek to renew their visas in accordance with the criteria governing their visa categories.