The Indian Embassy in Ottawa has declared that, effective immediately, visa services for Canadians are available once again for those planning trips to India. This positive stride in diplomatic relations comes after a period of tension stemming from the contentious pause of services, which was a repercussion of the significant incident involving the assassination of a Sikh separatist in Canada. The resumption acts as a gesture to mend ties and facilitate travel between the two nations.
India’s conditional resumption of visa issuance
A review of current safety evaluations and recent actions taken by Canada has led to this decision, as stated by the Indian High Commission. Consequently, from Thursday onwards, the processing of entry, business, medical, and conference visa applications will commence. Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission, alongside its consulates in Toronto and Vancouver, will maintain their handling of urgent cases. However, as per an official, other visa categories such as tourist, student, employment, and film visas remain on hold, pending further developments.
Canada plans to withdraw 41 of its diplomats from India in response to India’s suggestion of revoking their immunity, according to a recent diplomatic update. This proposition by India, which Canada views as contrary to the Geneva Convention, coincides with the resumption of visa services for Canadians by India, aiming for balanced diplomatic presence across both countries.
The cessation of visa services initially stemmed from escalating tensions between India and Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s direct accusations linking Indian intelligence to the assassination of Canadian national Hardeep Singh Nijjar sparked controversy. Indian law enforcement sought Nijjar due to his advocacy for a separate Sikh state.
Backdrop to visa discontinuation
The response from New Delhi was swift and stern, leading to a suspension of visa services for Canadian citizens. Furthermore, the Indian government counseled its citizens to exercise caution when traveling to certain Canadian regions due to a rise in activities against the Indian community.