India has demanded parity in respective diplomatic presence with Canada because of their interference in the country’s internal matters, the Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday, days after it reportedly asked the country to repatriate 41 diplomats by October 10. India and Canada have been locked in a diplomatic standoff following Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s accusation that the Indian government could be involved in the killing of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Bagchi said Canada has higher diplomatic presence, and the two countries are discussing achieving parity.
“On discussions on parity, given the much higher presence of diplomats or diplomatic presence here and their interference in our internal matters, we have sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence. Discussions are ongoing to achieve this. Given that Canadian diplomatic presence is higher, we would assume that there would be a reduction,” he said at a press conference.
According to a report by the Financial Times, India has asked New Delhi to repatriate around 41 diplomats by October 10.
Canada has 62 diplomats in India and New Delhi wants the strength to be cut by 41, the report said.
Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was shot dead outside a parking lot near a gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.
Trudeau, during a debate in the Canadian Parliament, alleged Canada’s national security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of Nijjar, who also served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
However, India has outrightly rejected the claims, calling it “absurd” and “motivated”.
A day after India asked Canada to curtail its diplomatic staff, Trudeau said his country wasn’t looking to escalate situation with India and would continue engaging ‘responsibly and constructively with New Delhi’.
With inputs from ANI
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