The ongoing rupture between India and Canada has escalated to new levels. In a recent move, India halted all visa services for citizens of Canada and told it to reduce its diplomatic staffing on Thursday.
‘Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 Sept. Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,’ the BLS Indian Visa Application Center in Canada said. BLS is the agency that processes visa requests for India. Also, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson confirmed a temporary suspension of all visa services for Canadians. including e-visas and visas issued in third countries. He further said they will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis.
It all started with Canada’s allegation that India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, a Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India not only denied the allegation by calling it absurd but also expelled a Canadian diplomat from the country after Canada did the same with an Indian diplomat from their country.
Canada and India also changed their respective travel advisory for the citizens traveling to each other. Canada warned its citizens who wish to visit India to ‘Exercise caution’ saying there could be a threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country. India has also updated the travel advisory.
According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, there has been a ‘sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes. sectarian violence and anti-india activities in Canada and people traveling to the country should exercise caution.