Canada and India have recently been in the spotlight due to ongoing diplomatic tension, which has raised concerns and led to various developments.
In this article, we will provide you with the latest updates on this diplomatic tension and its potential impact on immigration between the two countries.
This is a developing story and we continuously update this page to provide you with real-time updates, offering official, verified information from both countries as the situation unfolds.
Latest Update of Canada India Dispute
Canada Immigration Minister Marc Miller expresses appreciation for India’s choice to resume visa processing for Indian nationals in Canada.
India’s High Commission announced on Wednesday that it would resume some visa services in Canada starting from October 26. This decision aims to reduce tensions arising from the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver.
Effective October 26, 2023, the High Commission will resume visa services for the following categories:
- Entry Visa
- Business Visa
- Medical Visa
- Conference Visa
Further decisions regarding visa services will be made based on continuous evaluation of the security situation.
Canadian Prime Minister Addresses Indian Diplomatic Crisis
October 20, 2023 – Brampton Press Conference
On October 20, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the public during a press conference in Brampton, responding to the Indian government’s decision to revoke the immunity of 41 Canadian diplomats.
He expressed his concern that the Indian government’s actions were making it exceptionally challenging for the daily lives of millions of people in both India and Canada, as they violated fundamental principles of diplomacy.
Federal government confirms 41 Canadian diplomats have left India amid diplomatic tensions – October 19
In light of the diplomatic tension between Canada and India, on October 20, 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents departed India after the Indian government officially communicated its intention to strip their immunity.
Consequently, all in-person services for Canadian citizens at the Chandigarh, Bangalore, and Mumbai consulates have been temporarily suspended.
Changes in Immigration Services
The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will significantly reduce its workforce in India. However, Immigration Minister Marc Miller assured that Canada will continue to accept and process all temporary and permanent resident applications from India.
The reduction of the Indian workforce at IRCC, from 27 to 5 employees, may result in longer processing times due to reduced staffing levels. It’s worth noting that the majority of Indian applications are already processed outside of India, with 89% of them being handled through the global network.
The five IRCC employees based in Canada who will remain in India will be focused on tasks that require a physical presence in the country, including urgent processing, visa issuance, risk assessment, and oversight of critical partnerships.
Clients from India should expect some delays in the coming months, which may affect overall processing times, responses to inquiries, and the return of visas and passports.
Relocation of Canadian Diplomats: Seeking Diplomatic Parity
October 5, 2023 Update
As of October 5, it has been confirmed that most Canadian diplomats stationed outside of Delhi in India have been relocated to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
While discussions are ongoing regarding the timeline for Canadian officials to depart India, the Indian External Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, indicated that India seeks diplomatic parity, given the significant presence of Canadian diplomats and their involvement in India’s internal affairs.
October 3, 2023 Update
On October 3, 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said,
“We’re not looking to escalate; as I’ve said, we’re going to be doing the work that matters in continuing to have constructive relations with India through this extremely difficult time.”
“It is important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”PM Justin Trudeau
On Tuesday, the Indian government instructed Canada to repatriate around 41 diplomats from the country. New Delhi reportedly informed Ottawa that these diplomats must be repatriated by October 10th.
Canada is seeking private discussions with India to address a diplomatic conflict surrounding the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader, announced Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Tuesday.
This comes in response to reports indicating that India has requested Canada to repatriate 41 diplomats. The Financial Times reported that India has set a deadline of October 10 for Canada to repatriate these diplomats.
When questioned about the accuracy of the report, neither Joly nor Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided a response.
“We are in contact with the government of India. We take Canadian diplomats’ safety very seriously and we will continue to engage privately because we think diplomatic conversations are best when they remain private.”Canada Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told reporters
According to the Hindustan Times, she said in Ottawa,
“In moments of tensions — because indeed there are tensions between both our governments — more than ever it’s important that diplomats be on the ground and that’s why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India.”Foreign Minister Melanie Joly
Reports suggest that India will cancel the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards of more than a dozen people who have been spreading pro-Khalistan and anti-India messages.
On September 24, 2023, Canada issued an updated travel advisory to Canadians, urging them to exercise a high level of caution.
Canada India Dispute – September 22
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, still says India should work together to find out what’s going on with this issue.
“Canada has shared the credible allegations that I talked about on Monday with India. We did that many weeks ago and we are there to work constructively with India. We hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter.”Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
Canadian Government’s Response to Visa Suspension by India
According to Canadian government sources, Canada is currently considering a response to India’s suspension of visas, though no decision has been reached as of yet.
India’s Diplomatic Moves to Garner U.S. Support
Reports suggest that India is actively seeking U.S. support by extending an invitation to President Joe Biden to be the guest of honor at India’s Republic Day.
President Biden has not confirmed his attendance, but the Financial Times has noted that he did discuss the Nijjar murder case directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting at the G20 Summit.
Pre-G20 Summit Diplomacy Between Canada and India
CBC News has indicated that diplomatic efforts to engage with India had been underway even before Prime Minister Trudeau’s meeting with Modi at the G20 summit.
Canada’s national security adviser, Jody Thomas, spent four days in India in August and revisited the country a few days before the G20 Summit.
Allegations and Private Meetings
Interestingly, Canadian government sources claim that despite public statements to the contrary from the Indian government, Indian authorities have not refuted these allegations in private discussions.
Canadian Update: September 21
According to the most recent report from CBC News, Canadian government sources assert that there is both human and signals intelligence supporting the accusation.
This includes messages between Indian officials and information from an unnamed Five Eyes alliance member. However, as of September 21, 2023, Canada hasn’t officially accused anyone.
U.S. National Security Advisor Mr. Sullivan
The U.S. has expressed relief for Canada and is asking India to help with the Canadian investigation. U.S. National Security Advisor Mr. Sullivan said the United States has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to work together with Canada to find those responsible for the gang-style death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
He also said,
“We are in constant contact with our Canadian counterparts. We are consulting with them. We support the efforts that they are undertaking in this investigation and we have also been in contact with the Indian government.”U.S. National Security Advisor Mr. Sullivan
Mr. Sullivan told reporters.
“I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the U.S. and Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations and we would like to see this investigation move forward and the perpetrators held to account.”U.S. National Security Advisor Mr. Sullivan
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, keeps asking India for help with the case and says they have good evidence that India was involved.
Canada also wants India to make sure their people in India stay safe because some of them have been threatened online.
In response to ongoing bilateral tensions, the Canadian government is reducing staffing levels at its diplomatic missions in India, citing concerns for the safety of its personnel.
Department of Global Affairs Canada
The Department of Global Affairs expects the Indian government to continue ensuring the safety of Canadian diplomatic staff, stating,
“In light of the current environment of heightened tensions, we are taking steps to ensure the safety of our diplomats.”Department of Global Affairs Canada
Global Affairs Canada is currently reviewing its staffing levels in India in response to threats received by certain ambassadors across different social media platforms, as stated by Jean-Pierre Godbout, a spokesperson for Global Affairs.
“As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust our staff presence in India.”Jean-Pierre Godbout, a spokesperson for Global Affairs.
Mr. Godbout said that the Canada High Commission in New Delhi and its other offices in South Asia are still open for business.
“In the context of respect for Vienna Convention obligations, we expect India to provide for the security of our accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, just as we do for theirs here.”Jean-Pierre Godbout, a spokesperson for Global Affairs.
“Global Affairs Canada will continue to take all necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of all our personnel, including locally employed personnel, as well as our operations in India. Decisions are made based on a variety of considerations, including an employee’s professional profile and personal circumstances.”
Mr. Godbout refused to disclose the number of Canadian employees who are undergoing reassignment from Canada’s embassies and consulates in India.
Indian Update: September 21
The Indian High Commission and Consulate in Canada have temporarily suspended the processing of visa applications for Canadian citizens.
This decision has been prompted by the persistent security challenges confronting the Indian High Commission and Consulate in Canada, which have resulted in disruptions to their regular operations.
A spokesperson from the Indian government has indicated that this situation will undergo periodic assessments. Additionally, the Indian government has communicated to Canada the need for balanced reciprocity in their mutual diplomatic representation.
It has come to the attention of both parties that the number of Canadian diplomats stationed in India significantly exceeds the number of Indian diplomats in Canada.
Plans are underway to address this disparity, and India anticipates that Canada will take steps to reduce its diplomatic presence in India accordingly.
A reduction in diplomatic representation in India could certainly have an impact on the Canadian visa application process for Indian citizens, encompassing study visas, visitor visas, work visas, and permanent residency visas.
Stay tuned with +1 News for the latest news and updates.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller issued a correction on September 20 regarding the date of Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s Canadian citizenship. He clarified that Mr. Nijjar had acquired Canadian citizenship on May 25, 2007.
“Mr. Nijjar became a Canadian citizen on May 25, 2007, earlier than I stated below. The error in dates is my responsibility to assume. Again, nothing justifies the killing of Mr. Nijjar.”Immigration Minister Marc Miller
Questions of Indian Involvement:
The incident has sparked concerns in Canada about potential links between the Indian government and Nijjar’s tragic death in June 2023. These questions have put pressure on Canadian officials to address the matter.
Indian Government’s Travel Advisory:
The Indian government has issued a travel advisory to its citizens and students in Canada. The advisory urges caution due to the rising incidents of anti-India activities, politically condoned hate crimes, and criminal violence in Canada.
Indian students, in particular, are advised to be extra cautious and vigilant given the deteriorating security environment.
The advisory said,
“Given the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students in particular are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.”Indian Government’s Travel Advisory
They also asked Indian citizens residing in Canada, including students, to complete their registration with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver via their official websites or the MADAD portal at madad.gov.in.
On September 19, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seeking cooperation from India in the ongoing investigation. While Canada does not wish to provoke or escalate the situation, it has urged the Indian government to take the matter seriously.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller’s confirmation of Nijjar’s Canadian citizenship has put to rest doubts about his status, which had been a subject of debate.
Calls for Action:
In response to the situation, Stephen Brown, CEO of the National Council for Canadian Muslims, and Balpreet Singh, legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization of Canada, have called on the Canadian government to take specific actions:
- Immediate recall of Canada’s Ambassador
- Commencement of the process to expel India’s Ambassador to Canada
- Suspension of all discussions concerning trade negotiations with India
- Immediate ban of the RSS organization in Canada, along with the expulsion of all its agents from the country
Indian Government’s Response:
The Indian government has categorically denied all allegations made by the Canadian government.
In addition, they have asked a senior Canadian diplomat in India to leave within the next five days, further escalating tensions.
The situation escalated when Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat and updated its travel advisory for India.
Canadians were advised to “exercise a high degree of caution” in India due to the threat of terrorist attacks. This move marked a significant development in the ongoing tensions.
Background on Canada-India Relations:
The issue of Khalistani Sikhs has historically been a topic of discussion in Canada-India relations.
However, it gained prominence during the G20 summit in India, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised concerns about Indian interference, especially concerning the killings of Sikh leaders on Canadian soil.
Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar?
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a Sikh separatist from India who was actively involved in the Khalistan movement. He was wanted by Indian authorities and had been declared a terrorist under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly plotting the murder of a Hindu priest in Punjab. Tragically, Nijjar was shot and killed in British Columbia on June 18, 2023.
Impact on Immigration and Travel:
The ongoing Canada-India issue may potentially affect immigration and travel between the two countries. As of now, India has indicated that it is halting visa processing for Canadians in Canada due to service disruptions.
However, Canada’s response to this situation is yet to be seen.