New Delhi: India may consider resuming the visa services for Canadians in the near future, pending improvements in the safety of its diplomats in Canada, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has stated. Jaishankar expressed optimism on Sunday about the possible resumption of visa services, stating, “If we see progress there, I would very much like to resume the issue of visas.” This move comes in the midst of a bitter diplomatic spat with Canada, and EAM Jaishankar emphasized that India’s actions are in line with the Vienna Convention.
The pause in visa services a few weeks ago was primarily due to concerns about the safety and security of Indian diplomats in Canada. Jaishankar pointed out that the inability of Ottawa to provide a secure environment challenges the core principles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Safety Concerns Behind Suspension Of Visa Services
Canada recently withdrew 41 of its diplomats from India, further straining the India-Canada relationship. Jaishankar expressed India’s insistence on diplomatic parity, driven by concerns about the “continuous interference in our affairs by Canadian personnel.”
Review Of Security Situation In Canada
Government sources confirmed that India is currently reviewing the security situation in Canada, which led to the suspension of visa services. India refutes Canada’s claim that this action violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Strain In India-Canada Ties
Jaishankar acknowledged that the relationship between India and Canada is facing challenges, mainly due to certain segments of Canadian politics and related policies. The strained ties intensified when 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 strongly rejected these charges and subsequently suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens, also requesting a downsizing of Canada’s diplomatic presence in India.
Diplomatic Parity & Vienna Convention
The issue of diplomatic parity, as Jaishankar pointed out, is provided for by the Vienna Convention, the relevant international rule governing diplomatic relations. In this case, India invoked parity due to concerns about continuous interference by Canadian personnel in Indian affairs.
India Rejects Canada’s Claims
India rejected Canada’s portrayal of the withdrawal of Canadian diplomats as a violation of international norms, asserting that ensuring two-way diplomatic parity aligns with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly described India’s actions as “contrary to international law” and “unreasonable and escalatory.” However, the Ministry of External Affairs clarified that the higher number of Canadian diplomats in India and their continuous interference justified the demand for parity in mutual diplomatic presence between New Delhi and Ottawa.