Diplomatic tensions | India resumes issuing visas to Canada

(Ottawa) The Indian High Commission in Canada announced Wednesday that officials will resume processing certain types of visa applications in Ottawa and at consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.

New Delhi suspended these services a month ago in Indian offices in Canada and for Canadian citizens around the world.

The high commission announced the resumption of issuance of business visas, medical visas and conference visas, as well as entry of people with family ties to India. The diplomatic representation did not provide information on other types of visas.

The Canadian Press confirmed the authenticity of social media posts regarding the decision and asked, so far in vain, whether tourist, student and journalist visa applications would also be processed by Indian officials.

India restricted visa issuance after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed in the House of Commons last month that Canadian intelligence services were investigating “credible” information regarding “a potential link” between the Indian government and the assassination of a Canadian Sikh leader in British Columbia.

India stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on September 21, and then worldwide. New Delhi argued that its diplomats in Canada could not get to work safely.

However, in an interview with The Canadian Press three weeks earlier, High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma declared that he was “very satisfied” with the way Canada had strengthened its protection.

The high commission’s statement Wednesday did not indicate whether Canadians in other countries can also apply for these visas through Indian missions elsewhere in the world.

Before Mr. Trudeau’s announcement significantly escalated tensions between Canada and India, New Delhi had publicly denounced protests by Sikh separatist groups outside its diplomatic missions in Canada, as well as posters that appeared to offer rewards in cash for the addresses of Indian diplomats.

India has officially called on Canada to better respect its duty to protect foreign diplomats.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said on September 14 that Indian diplomats in Canada “benefit from 24/7 security” — a service Ottawa provides to very few diplomatic missions.

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