MEA explains India suspending issuance of visas to Canadian citizens. Top Points


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India and Canada’s simmering tension over the killing of Pro-Khalistan separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, has led India to temporarily suspend issuing visas to Canadian citizens. The ministry of external affairs citied security threat in taking the step. 

Spokesperson for External Affairs Ministry Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said the decision will include Canadian visa applicants in third countries even as he asserted Canada must act against the pro-Khalistani elements operating from its territory. 

The move comes amid an escalating diplomatic row over Ottawa’s allegations relating to the killing of a Khalistani separatist on Canadian soil.

India is temporarily unable to process visa applications from Canada because of the “security threats” faced by our high commission and consulates in Canada, Bagchi said at a media briefing.

“You are aware of the security threats being faced by our high commission and consulates in Canada. It has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our high commission and consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications,” he said.

“The issue is the incitement of violence, the inaction by the Canadian authorities, creation of an environment that disrupts the functioning of our high commission and consulates. That’s making us temporarily stop the issuance of visas or providing visa services,” he said.

Top Points to visa suspension for Canadian citizen

-A Canadian citizen will not be able to apply for visa even if they are living in a different country.

-Arindam Bagchi said that all categories of visas for Canadian citizens have been suspended.

-Those who have valid visas and documents like OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards are free to travel to India, said Bagchi

-MEA spokesperson also said that the e-visa services are also suspended. “Our high commissions and consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications” Bagchi told reporters. 

-A private agency hired by India to carry out the initial scrutiny of visa applications of Canadians put out a note on its website on suspension of visa services due to “operational reasons”

-BLS International informed the stock exchanges that it had suspended India visa services in Canada with immediate effect. “Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking BLS website for further updates,” the message said.

India-Canada diplomatic Row

India and Canada are embroiled in a diplomatic row over the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

The row erupted following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing.

India on Tuesday rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case.

In reflection of hardening of its position, India on Wednesday advised all its nationals living in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise “utmost caution” in view of growing anti-India activities and “politically-condoned” hate crimes as well as “criminal violence” in that country.

Arindam Bagchi on Thursday also said that there was a degree of “prejudice” in Trudeau’s allegations against.

He said Canada did not share any specific information with India on the case.

The India-Canada ties were reeling under some strain for the last few months in view of increasing activities of the pro-Khalistani elements in the North American country. India believes the Trudeau government is not addressing its genuine concerns.

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Updated: 21 Sep 2023, 07:47 PM IST


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