- India has expelled 41 Canadian diplomats
- This comes after Justin Trudeau accused Indian intelligence of the murder of Canadian national Hardeep Singh Nijjar
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied this accusation
Dozens of Canadian diplomats are being forced to leave India as the feud between the two countries – which escalated when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Asian country of killing a Sikh leader in British Columbia – has deepened.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said New Delhi, the capital of India, plans to revoke diplomatic immunity for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and their families.
This decision forced Canada to withdraw the other diplomats from India.
“The withdrawal of the diplomatic immunity of 41 diplomats is not only unprecedented, but also contrary to international law,” Joly said on Wednesday.
Tensions between Canada and India have risen since Trudeau publicly accused Indian intelligence of the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied.
Dozens of Canadian diplomats are being forced to leave India as the feud between the two countries has deepened. The decision came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) accused Indian intelligence of the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) has denied the accusation
Amid the deepening feud between India and Canada, hundreds of Sikh protesters gathered outside Indian diplomatic missions in Canada last month, burning flags and trampling photos of Modi.
Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar was murdered in June after being shot dead by two masked assailants in the parking lot of a Sikh temple near Vancouver. Trudeau accused India of being behind his death
“Canada will continue to uphold international law, which applies to all nations, and engage with India. Now more than ever, we need diplomats on the ground and we need to talk to each other,” Joly said.
New Delhi also temporarily stopped processing visa applications in Canada.
India previously expelled a senior Canadian diplomat after Canada did the same to a senior Indian diplomat.
Nijjar immigrated to Canada in 1997 and became a Canadian citizen in 2015. He was shot dead in June by two masked assailants in the parking lot of a Sikh temple near Vancouver.
He was wanted by Indian authorities for alleged terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder after advocating a separate Sikh state to be carved out of India.
A Canadian official told The Associated Press that the accusation of India’s involvement comes after surveillance of Indian diplomats in Canada emerged, including intelligence from a key ally.
Canada is home to approximately 770,000 Sikhs, who make up about two percent of the country’s population.
The Sikh separatist movement has almost ended in India, where security forces used lethal force to put down an uprising in the state of Punjab in the 1980s.
Hundreds of Sikh protesters gathered outside Indian diplomatic missions in Canada last month, burning flags and trampling photos of Modi.
A supporter gathered outside the Indian consulate last month as tensions between Canada and India soared. Since India forced Canadian diplomats to leave their country, Canada has yet to retaliate
New Delhi, India’s capital, planned to revoke diplomatic immunity for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and their families by Friday. This decision has forced Ottawa to withdraw the other diplomats from India
India has also accused Canada of harboring separatists and “terrorists” but has dismissed the accusation of its involvement in the killing as “absurd” and has taken diplomatic steps to express its anger over the accusation.
Joly said India’s decision will impact the level of service provided to citizens in both countries. She said Canada is pausing in-person services in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Canada has yet to retaliate after India expelled its diplomats from its country. Tensions between Ottawa and New Delhi have created a delicate situation for Washington, a close ally of Canada.
Washington has recently taken steps to move closer to India as the United States has sought to limit Chinese influence in the region.