Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly declared on Thursday the removal of 41 diplomats and 42 of their family members from India amid the escalating tension between the two countries. Joly confirmed that India had conveyed its intention to strip diplomatic immunities from all but 21 Canadian diplomats and their dependents in Delhi by October 20, jeopardizing the safety of the affected individuals.
The move follows India’s suspension of visa operations to Canada and its demand for a reduction in Canadian diplomats stationed in the country to achieve ‘parity’, in light of the ongoing diplomatic conflict. Minister Joly emphasized the importance of diplomatic immunity, stating that its unilateral revocation would not only violate international law but also endanger diplomats worldwide.
The Canadian government facilitated the safe departure of the diplomats and their families, relinquishing their diplomatic immunities. Consequently, in-person services at Canadian consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bangalore have been temporarily suspended, affecting service levels for citizens of both nations.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refrained from directly addressing the issue, reiterating the seriousness of the matter and the ongoing diplomatic dialogue with the Indian government. India’s Ministry of External Affairs highlighted the need for ‘parity’ in diplomatic presence, citing continued interference by Canadian diplomats in the country’s internal affairs.
The Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi emphasized the importance of maintaining a conducive working environment for Indian diplomats in Canada and achieving a balance in diplomatic strength. Trudeau’s earlier claims regarding the alleged involvement of the Indian government in the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, were rejected by India as baseless, with no public evidence provided by the Canadian government to support the accusation.
Nijjar, identified as a designated terrorist in India, was killed outside a Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.
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