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Backed by US and UK, Canada PM on Diplomatic Row: 'India making it unbelievably difficult...'

Canada has temporarily suspended in-person operations at its Indian consulates and warned of potential visa processing delays. The United States and the United Kingdom have expressed support for Canada, urging India not to reduce Canada's diplomatic presence and emphasizing the importance of on-ground diplomacy

Backed by US and UK, Canada PM on Diplomatic Row: 'India making it unbelievably difficult...'
First Published Oct 21, 2023, 7:27 AM IST

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has voiced his grave concerns regarding the actions of the Indian government, which he believes are severely disrupting the lives of millions of people in both India and Canada. This concern has arisen following Canada's decision to withdraw 41 diplomats in response to a unilateral threat by the Indian government to revoke their diplomatic status. The tension between the two nations escalated after Trudeau suggested that Indian agents might have been involved in the June assassination of a Sikh terrorist in Canada.

In light of this diplomatic standoff, Canada has taken the step of temporarily suspending in-person operations at its consulates in several major Indian cities and has also issued warnings of potential delays in the processing of visas. Trudeau has not minced words in criticizing India for its disregard of fundamental diplomatic principles.

"The Indian government is making it unbelievably difficult for life as usual to continue for millions of people in India and in Canada. And they're doing it by contravening a very basic principle of diplomacy," Trudeau said.

Trudeau's concern extends deeply to the well-being and happiness of the millions of Canadians who trace their origins to the Indian subcontinent. He underscores the adverse consequences of expelling Canadian diplomats, which will impact areas such as travel, trade, and the experiences of Indian students in Canada. It is worth noting that approximately 5% of Canada's population has Indian heritage, and India accounts for nearly 40% of all study permit holders in Canada.

In response to these allegations and actions, the Indian foreign ministry has rejected claims of violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. The Indian government contends that the current state of bilateral relations, coupled with what it sees as continued interference by Canada in India's internal affairs, justifies a mutual reduction in diplomatic presence. At present, Canada maintains 21 diplomats in India.

US, UK back Canada

Amidst this international dispute, the United States and the United Kingdom have both lent their support to Canada. They have urged India not to insist on a reduction in Canada's diplomatic presence and have expressed their concerns over the departure of Canadian diplomats in response to the Indian government's demands. 

The U.S. State Department has emphasized the importance of resolving differences through on-ground diplomacy and has called on India to cooperate with Canada in the ongoing murder investigation, all while upholding its obligations under the Vienna Convention. 

Britain's Foreign Office has also cited the Vienna Convention, underlining the necessity of safeguarding the privileges and immunities that ensure the safety and security of diplomats.

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