India has taken a temporary measure to suspend visas for Canadians to ensure the safety of its diplomats, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar informed the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for External Affairs during a meeting held on Saturday morning.
Strained India-Canada Relations
Sources disclosed that several committee members inquired about the current state of India-Canada relations, which have deteriorated in recent months.
The tension escalated when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of involvement in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia earlier this year.
India vehemently rejected these allegations as “absurd” and “motivated.” In response, the Indian government expelled a senior Canadian diplomat, mirroring Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official linked to the case. Furthermore, New Delhi temporarily suspended visa services for Canadians.
India’s Extradition Requests
According to inside sources, Minister Jaishankar emphasized India’s persistent efforts to seek the extradition of extremist elements who managed to enter Canada. Regrettably, the Canadian government has been largely unresponsive to these demands, citing freedom of speech.
Jaishankar reiterated India’s stance, stating, “Under the guise of freedom of speech, support for terrorism and extremism cannot be tolerated.”
Visa Suspension Explained
Addressing the suspension of Canadian visas, Jaishankar clarified that it is a “temporary” measure. He cited the hostile environment faced by Indian diplomats in Canada, where their free movement has become increasingly challenging.
There have even been attempts to incite violence against them. In light of these circumstances, India considers it a duty to protect its citizens, including diplomats.
Jaishankar emphasized, “Until conditions improve, the visa suspension will remain in effect. Therefore, this suspension is purely a temporary measure.”
Committee Discusses G20 Presidency
The committee convened on Saturday morning to discuss India’s G20 presidency and the successful execution of the summit.
During the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in informal discussions with Trudeau, addressing the issue of Khalistani separatism on Canadian soil.
The Foreign Secretary presented a comprehensive overview of the G20 Summit at the meeting, while Jaishankar elaborated on the significant efforts made by the Narendra Modi government to ensure its success.
Sources indicated that all committee members, including those from the Opposition, commended the government for India’s successful hosting of the G20 Summit in Delhi and the consensus achieved on the declaration, even amid global differences regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
India’s Role in Expanding the G20
Jaishankar also informed the MPs about India’s efforts to include the African Union in the G20. He credited Prime Minister Modi’s relentless dedication to making this historic inclusion possible, highlighting that discussions regarding the involvement of the Global South had occurred in the past but had yielded no concrete results.