India has decided to temporarily suspend the issuance of visas to Canadians citizens due to concerns arising from a statement made by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. This statement, in which he suggested Indian involvement in the recent killing of a Sikh leader associated with the Khalistan movement, has strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Background: The Khalistan Movement:
The Khalistan movement advocates for the creation of a separate Sikh homeland, distinct from India. The recent assassination of Hardeep Singh Najjar, a prominent figure in this movement, has amplified tensions. India had previously labeled Najjar a terrorist in 2020 due to his support for Khalistan.
Trudeau’s Remarks and India’s Response:
Prime Minister Trudeau’s comments regarding the possible involvement of Indian agents in Najjar’s death were met with disapproval by Indian authorities. As a result, India has temporarily halted the processing of visa applications for Canadian nationals. The Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson in India, Arndam Bagchi, cited security challenges faced by Indian diplomatic missions in Canada, which have disrupted their usual operations, as the reason behind this decision.
Protests and Diplomatic Strain:
The situation escalated when Sikhs for Justice, a banned Sikh separatist group in India, called for the closure of all Indian diplomatic missions in Canada and scheduled protests for the upcoming week. This further strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The suspension of visas services to Canadians citizens by India reflects its dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Trudeau’s statements concerning the killing of Hardeep Singh Najjar. This situation underscores the fragile diplomatic balance between India and Canada, particularly given the influence of the Khalistan movement within Canada and its impact on Indian diplomatic missions. The situation is dynamic, and further developments may unfold in the near future.