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Canada Recalls 41 Diplomats from India Amid Diplomatic Strain Over Controversial Murder Case

Canada, in a significant diplomatic move, has recalled 41 of its diplomats from India, citing New Delhi's "unreasonable" demands. The decision was announced by Canada's Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, on Thursday, October 19, intensifying an ongoing dispute. This development stems from the aftermath of the controversial killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force, which occurred on June 18.

Canada Recalls 41 Diplomats from India Amid Diplomatic Strain Over Controversial Murder Case Image Source -www.thestatesman.com

Canada, in a significant diplomatic move, has recalled 41 of its diplomats from India, citing New Delhi's "unreasonable" demands. The decision was announced by Canada's Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, on Thursday, October 19, intensifying an ongoing dispute. This development stems from the aftermath of the controversial killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force, which occurred on June 18.

The diplomatic standoff between the two nations began when Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, asserted the existence of "credible" evidence linking the Indian government to Nijjar's assassination. In response, India called for a reduction in Canada's diplomatic presence in the country. Prime Minister Trudeau's comments raised suspicions in New Delhi, prompting a request for Canada to reduce its diplomatic corps.

Minister Joly revealed that India had issued an ultimatum, threatening to unilaterally strip the diplomats of their official status if they did not leave promptly. She characterized this ultimatum as "unreasonable" and a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, emphasizing its unprecedented nature.

At a press conference, Minister Joly expressed concern for the safety of Canadian diplomats, stating, "If we allow the norm of diplomatic immunity to be broken, no diplomats anywhere on the planet would be safe. So, for this reason, we will not reciprocate."

The number of Canadian diplomats in India now stands at 21, as the 41 who left were accompanied by 42 dependents. India has refuted Trudeau's allegations of its involvement in Nijjar's murder, labelling him a "terrorist."

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This diplomatic rift has the potential to impact various sectors. Approximately 5% of the Canadian population, roughly 2 million individuals, have Indian heritage. Moreover, India is the largest source of global students in Canada, constituting approximately 40% of study permit holders. Canada's Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, acknowledged that the recall of diplomats would lead to a reduction in embassy staff dedicated to immigration matters.

Miller stated, "We acknowledge the concerns and frustrations that this situation may cause for clients, families, educational institutions, communities, and businesses in Canada as a whole." He reassured that visa application centres in India, managed by third-party contractors, would remain unaffected by these changes.


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