Indian visa services in Canada suspended amid major diplomatic row.


India on Thursday suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens “until further notice”. A notice from BLS International — a private agency tasked with initial screening of visa applications for Canadian citizens — said “Due to operational reasons… Indian visa services have been suspended until further notice.” Is”.

It comes as India and Canada are locked in an international row over Ottawa’s claim that it has “credible allegations” linking agents in New Delhi to the killing of pro-Khalistan Sikh terrorist Hardeep Singh Najjar. The Indian government has vehemently denied the allegation, calling it “ridiculous” and “outrageous”.

It is not yet clear whether the suspension of visas is linked to the row.

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Relations between India and Canada were already strained after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with Canada’s Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit in Delhi this month. The prime minister expressed India’s “grave concern over the continuation of anti-India activities” in the country.

On Monday, months after Niger’s murder, Mr. Trudeau said his country’s security agencies had information indicating that “agents of the Indian government” had killed the Canadian citizen.

Read on“Agents of India”: Canadian PM blames Khalistani terrorists for killing

India “completely rejected” allegations of its involvement in Najjar’s death and expressed its concern over its (Canadian) political figures openly expressing sympathy for “such elements”.

“Such baseless allegations seek to divert attention from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been sheltered in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Canadian government’s inaction is a has been a longstanding and continuing concern.”

As the conflict escalated, both countries expelled senior officials one by one.

Ottawa ordered a senior official of the Research and Analysis Wing to leave the country and India expelled a diplomat for “interfering in internal affairs and indulging in anti-India activities”.

Read on In a tit-for-tat move, India asked the Canadian diplomat to leave within 5 days

Both countries also exchanged travel advice.

Canada this week updated its India advisory to that of the US and specifically mentions Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, which has “in the past violent clashes between militants and security forces” and “Ethnic tensions” have been warned, resulting in “conflicts and civil unrest” later.

On Wednesday, shortly after Foreign Minister S Jaishankar met Prime Minister Modi at the new Parliament building, India advised its citizens and those planning to travel to Canada to exercise “extreme caution” in view of anti-India activities. ” behave and “condescend politically”. Hate crimes.

Read on Canada rejects India’s travel advisory amid escalating diplomatic row

Najjar, 45, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in British Columbia, Canada, in June. Hailing from Jalandhar in Punjab, he was the head of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force and one of India’s most wanted terrorists. There was a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for his arrest or information about his arrest.

Read on On Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusation of being an “agent of India”, the US said this

The award was in connection with the killing of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar, Punjab.

Najjar is also an accused in a 2007 bomb blast case in Punjab and is believed to be linked to recent attacks on Indian diplomatic missions in the UK, US and Canada.

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