Canada begins withdrawing diplomats from India amid diplomatic row: Report
World 3 min read
In the latest development in the ongoing diplomatic spat between Canada and India, Ottawa has reportedly begun relocating a majority of its diplomats from New Delhi to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. According to the news outlet CTV News, India has asked Canada to move 41 Canadian diplomats to secure a balanced diplomatic presence between the two nations. New Delhi has reportedly given Ottawa until October 10 to complete the process.
Why does this story matter?
India’s demand that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence in India was the latest diplomatic blow administered by New Delhi following the suspension of visas for Canadians. It is worth recalling that diplomatic ties between the two nations swooped to an all-time low last month after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau alleged that the Indian government played a role in killing Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June on Canadian soil. However, New Delhi rejected Ottawa’s claims and labeled them “politically motivated.”
We have sought parity in diplomatic presence: EAM spokesperson
On Thursday, Indian External Affairs Ministry (EAM) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi called for a reduction in Canadian diplomats in the country while also highlighting their alleged “interference” in the “internal matters” of New Delhi. “Given the much higher presence of diplomats or diplomatic presence here (India) and their continued interference in our internal matters, we have sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence. Discussions are ongoing on the modalities of achieving this,” Mint quoted Bagchi as saying.
India has 21 diplomats, Canada has 62
Reportedly, there are 21 diplomats from India in Canada and 62 diplomats from Canada in India. As a result, 41 diplomats will be required to leave India by October 10 in order to maintain parity in diplomatic presence. The Canadian government’s Global Affairs Canada had previously reported that it was “assessing its staff complement in India” after some diplomats “received threats on various social media platforms.”
Canada requests for ‘private talks’ to settle diplomatic row
Earlier this week, Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly highlighted the need for a “strong diplomatic footprint” in India and sought private talks with it to resolve the diplomatic dispute over the murder of Sikh separatist leader Nijjar. “We are in contact with the government of India. We take Canadian diplomats’ safety very seriously, and we will continue to engage privately because we think that diplomatic conversations are best when they remain private,” Global News quoted Joly as saying.
Jaishankar’s previous comments on re-emergence of Khalistani elements
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said at a press conference in Washington, DC, last week that the re-emergence of the Khalistani movement reflects Ottawa’s “very permissive” attitude toward those advocating it. “In the last few years, it (Khalistani movement) has come back, very much into play, because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremist people who openly advocate violence,” the EAM had alleged.