In a latest development on the continuously deteriorating India-Canada relations, India has told Canada that it must repatriate 41 diplomats by October 10, reported the Financial Times on Tuesday.
Citing people familiar with the Indian demand, it further reported that India has threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of those diplomats who have been told to leave and still remain in the country after October 10. Reportedly, Canada has 62 diplomats in India, a number that India wants to reduce significantly.
Currently, India wants to reduce the number by 41. However, the foreign ministers of both nations are yet to issue any statement on the development. However, on Friday, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said that in Canada there was a climate of violence and an atmosphere of intimidation against Indian diplomats in Canada.
In a span of two weeks, Ottawa and New Delhi have almost come to verbal blows ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations against India in Canadian Parliament.
On September 18, Trudeau said that intelligence agencies were investigating whether agents of the government of India were involved in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar was shot dead in his vehicle by two masked gunmen outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in British Columbia.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” he made the statement in Canadian Parliament. India has dismissed the allegations as, “absurd and motivated.”
The strained relations continue
As both nations continue with their respective display of diplomatic aggression, political analysts say there seems to be no resolution in sight in the near future. Recently, Jaishakar said that the current situation between India and Canada could not be termed as, “deadlock.” He also added that the Indian government was open to the possibility of looking at specific and relevant things shared by their Canadian counterpart in connection with the issue.
Meanwhile, on Monday the US said that the Biden administration had engaged with the government of India on a number of occasions urging them to cooperate with Canada in its investigations into the death of Nijjar.