New Delhi: India has stopped issuing visas to Canadian nationals for the time being. The “temporary” decision has been taken in view of the security threats to Indian High Commission officials in Canada, who are “unable” to process the visa applications, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs today announced here today.
“We will read the situation on a regular basis,” the MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told media persons. India has also advised Indian nationals to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues of anti-India activities in Canada. India said it was also in touch with its “partners” over the issue.
With Indo-Canada ties hitting a low over the latter patronising anti-India terrorists on its soil, India today also asked Canada to reduce its staff strength at its High Commission in New Delhi and bring it at par with the strength of the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, which is said was much lesser in numbers.
Referring to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s charges of India’s involvement in the murder of Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023, India dismissed the charges as “primarily political allegations” Bagchi said no specific information has been shared by Canada with the Indian government in this case. On the other hand, India had shared “very specific information” on the terror activities on Canadian soil with the Canadian government.
Earlier, on September 20, 2023, in view of growing anti-India activities, and “politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” in Canada, the MEA issued an advisory for Indian Nationals and Indian Students in Canada and for all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel, urging them to exercise utmost caution.
“Given the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students in particular are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant,” the advisory said.
The Indian High Commission and Consulates General will continue to be in contact with the Canadian authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian community in Canada, the MEA said, while noting that “Recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda.”
India has also asked its nationals and students in Canada to register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites, or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in. “Registration would enable the High Commission and the Consulates General to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any emergency or untoward incident,” the advisory said.
– global bihari bureau