23 Oct 2023

Will India Resume Visa Service To Canada? S Jaishankar Said This

New Delhi: India is considering the resumption of visa services for Canadians in the near future, pending an improvement in the safety of its diplomats in Canada, according to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. This decision aligns with the principles of the Vienna Convention, which underlines diplomatic parity.

The temporary halt in visa services was triggered by concerns regarding the safety and security of Indian diplomats in Canada. Jaishankar emphasized that Ottawa's inability to ensure a secure environment for Indian officials challenged a fundamental aspect of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This statement follows Ottawa's withdrawal of 41 diplomats from India, which exacerbated the diplomatic tension.

Furthermore, Jaishankar pointed out that New Delhi insisted on diplomatic parity due to concerns about "continuous interference in our affairs by Canadian personnel." While the specific details have not been publicly disclosed, he hinted that more information might surface over time, shedding light on India's discomfort with certain aspects of Canada's actions.

India is evaluating security situation in Canada

Regarding the resumption of visa services for Canadians, government sources stated that India is currently evaluating the security situation in Canada, which led to the suspension of these services.

India rejected Canada's claim that the withdrawal of 41 Canadian diplomats constituted a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Jaishankar emphasized that the issues between the two nations primarily stem from a particular segment of Canadian politics and the policies resulting from it.

The relationship between India and Canada soured after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia. India vehemently denied these allegations and subsequently suspended visa issuance for Canadian citizens while asking Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in India.

 'I would very much like to resume issue of visas if...'

Expressing his hopes for resuming visa services, Jaishankar stated, "If we see progress there, I would very much like to resume the issue of visas. My hope would be that it would be something which should happen very very soon." He stressed the importance of diplomats' safety and security, a core aspect of the Vienna Convention.

Diplomatic parity, as per Jaishankar, is a provision well-supported by the Vienna Convention. It emphasizes the equality in the number of diplomats from both countries. India invoked this principle due to its concerns about Canadian personnel's continuous interference in its affairs.

In response to Canada's objections, India affirmed that ensuring two-way diplomatic parity is consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and aligns with international norms. 

The Ministry of External Affairs clarified that the higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, coupled with their involvement in India's internal matters, justified the need for mutual diplomatic presence on equal terms in New Delhi and Ottawa.

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