Canada welcomes India’s decision to partially resume visa services calling it a “good sign” and stating that the suspension should “never have happened in the first place”
In a positive sign, India on Wednesday decided to resume visa services in Canada for four categories after a considered review of the security situation which “takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard”. Entry visa, Business visa, Medical visa and Conference visa are four categories in which India has decided to resume visa services in Canada with effect from October 26.
India had in September “suspended till further notice” its visa services in Canada amid a diplomatic row following remarks of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the suspected involvement of “agents of the Indian government” in the killing of a Khalistani separatist in June. India had rejected the allegations as “absurd and motivated” and expelled a Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move over Canada’s decision.
Last week, Canada pulled 41 diplomats from India, after New Delhi had conveyed its concerns over parity in diplomatic strength. Ottawa also halted its visa and consular services in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bengaluru consulates.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said last week that India will resume issuing visas to Canadian citizens if it “sees progress” in the safety of its diplomats.
A press release by the Indian High Commission in Ottawa said on Wednesday that the High Commission and its Consulates General in Toronto and Vancouver, “were constrained to suspend visa services temporarily because of safety and security considerations”.
Jaishankar had said that India-Canada relations are going through a “difficult phase” and New Delhi has problems with a “certain segment” of Ottawa’s politics.
“The relationship right now is going through a difficult phase. But I do want to say the problems we have are with a certain segment of Canadian politics and the policies which flow from that. Right now, the big concern which people have is on visas. Some weeks ago, we stopped issuing visas in Canada because it was no longer safe for our diplomats to go to work to issue visas. So, their safety and security was the primary reason we had to temporarily stop the issue of visas. We’re tracking it very closely,” he added.
India has expressed its concern over Canada providing a “safe haven” to terrorists.
“We should look at the larger issue of terrorism. And not just terrorism, but also the fact that it is being funded and supported. And we know this for some time, from our western neighbor Pakistan. But the issue of safe havens and places to operate is being provided abroad, including in Canada. We would expect that, that is the main focus. The question is, do we have the political will to address terrorism?” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said in a weekly media briefing last month.
Meanwhile, as India resumed visa services in Canada in four categories, BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Wednesday said that Indian government has restored the visa service on the demands of the Indians who want to come for any emergency. Sirsa said, “It was the demand of the Indians living in Canada as they are facing problems. This problem started when Canada’s PM falsely accused India inside the Parliament without any facts or proof. However, the Indian government has restored the visa service on the demands of the Indians. Now whoever wants to come for any emergency, for them visa service has resumed.”
India on Wednesday decided to resume visa services in Canada for four categories after a considered review of the security situation which “takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard”.
Canada has welcomed India’s decision to partially resume visa services calling it a “good sign” and stating that the suspension should “never have happened in the first place”, Canada-based CTV News reported. Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller said on Wednesday called the move “a good sign” after “an anxious time” for his many Canadians. “Our feeling is that a suspension should never have happened in the first place,” he added.
Canadian Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan said the resumption of visa processing is good news, but wouldn’t speculate on what message New Delhi is trying to send, CTV News reported. “It’s good to see that they have resumed that. It would have been nice (if) they didn’t take it in the first place,” Sajjan told reporters.
He added that Ottawa is still seeking India’s help as police investigate the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.