‘Operational reasons’: India suspends visa services for Canadian citizens

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi

New Delhi: India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens citing “operational reasons.” This move comes in the midst of escalating tension between the two countries following the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

A private agency named BLS, responsible for initial visa application screening for Canadians, posted a notice on its website, stating, “Due to operational reasons, Indian visa services have been suspended effective September 21, 2023, until further notice. Please continue to check the BLS website for updates.”

Tensions between India and Canada escalated after a contentious discussion regarding the Khalistani issue took place between the prime ministers of both countries during the G20 meeting in Delhi earlier this month.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau subsequently announced on Monday that his government was investigating “credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the June 18 killing of Nijjar, which occurred outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia. India has vehemently denied any involvement in the killing, dismissing the allegations as absurd.

In response to these developments, both India and Canada engaged in tit-for-tat measures, with Canada expelling an Indian diplomat and India reciprocating in kind.

Earlier in the week, Trudeau emphasized that Canada’s actions were not meant to provoke India but underscored the need for strong measures.

He stated, “The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” as reported by Reuters on Tuesday.

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