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Saturday, March 02, 2024  
21 Shaban 1445  

Canada High Commission says to ‘adjust’ India staff presence

Development comes after Canada accuses India of killing Sikh leader
A banner with the image of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar is seen at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple, site of his June 2023 killing, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada September 20, 2023. Reuters
A banner with the image of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar is seen at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple, site of his June 2023 killing, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada September 20, 2023. Reuters

Canada’s High Commission said Thursday it was to “adjust” the number of its diplomats in India after threats on social media, as a diplomatic row with New Delhi escalates.

“With some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms, Global Affairs Canada is assessing its staff complement in India,” the mission said in a statement.

“As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India.”

The development comes after India suspended on Thursday the issuing of visas in Canada, the service provider said.

“Important notice from Indian mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from September 21, 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” BLS International posted on their website on Thursday.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded India treat with “utmost seriousness” allegations that Indian agents played a role in the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

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The fallout prompted tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and a forceful denial from India, which said any suggestion it played a role in Nijjar’s killing was “absurd”.

The suspension of visas comes a day after India’s foreign ministry said it was concerned for the safety of its citizens in Canada because of “politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence”.

“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda,” a ministry statement said on Wednesday.

“Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents.”

The advisory did not name specific cities or locations for Indians to avoid.

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