Trudeau spoke a day after Canada said it had withdrawn 41 diplomats following an Indian threat to unilaterally revoke their status.
The Indian government’s crackdown on Canadian diplomats is making normal life difficult for millions of people in both countries, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, adding that the expulsion of some of diplomats will hamper travel and trade and pose difficulties for Indians studying in the country.
“The Indian government is making it unbelievably difficult for life as usual to continue for millions of people in India and in Canada. And they’re doing it by contravening a very basic principle of diplomacy,” Trudeau said.
“It’s something that has me very concerned for the well-being and happiness of millions of Canadians who trace their origins to the Indian subcontinent,” he told reporters at a televised press conference in Brampton, Ontario.
Canada has recalled 41 of its diplomats from India after the Indian government said it would revoke their diplomatic immunity, the foreign minister said Thursday, in an escalation of their dispute over the slaying of a Sikh separatist in Canada.
In parallel a travel advisory posted online by the Canadian government states that the Consulates General of Canada in in Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai are temporarily suspending in-person operations. “You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi. Consular services in person remain available at the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi,” adds the advisory.
Canada now has 21 diplomats remaining in India. The U.S State Department on Friday backed Canada in the dispute over diplomats. “We have urged the Indian government not to insist upon a reduction in Canada’s diplomatic presence and to cooperate in the ongoing Canadian investigation,” said spokesperson Matthew Miller.