'No Indian visa for Canadians applying from other countries, too': MEA Spokesman Arindam Bagchi
Ottawa/ New Delhi: Even if a Canadian citizen resides in another country, they will not be eligible to apply for an Indian visa, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday.
A Canadian citizen would not be able to apply for an Indian visa even if he/she is living in any other country, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday. "No visas to Canadians applying from other countries too," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
Hours after India "suspended till further notice" its visa services in Canada, MEA said that Security concerns affecting officials at the High Commission and consulates have led to a disruption in their operations, including the suspension of visa services.
While addressing a press conference, Arindam Bagchi said India will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis.
"You are aware of the security threats being faced by our High Commission and consulates in Canada. This has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our High Commission and Consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications. We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis," Arindam Bagchi said.
Starting shortly!— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) September 21, 2023
Tune in for our Weekly Media Briefing:https://t.co/u5j9wcewE4
The MEA spokesperson also said that a "safe haven" is being given to anti-India elements in Canada.
"Safe haven is being provided in Canada. We want the Canadian government not to do so and take action against those who have terrorism charges or send them to India to face justice. We have sought extradition of around 20-25 individuals over the years, but the response has not been helpful at all," Bagchi said.
#WATCH | MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi says, "If you're talking about reputational issues and reputational damage, if there's any country that needs to look at this, I think it is Canada and its growing reputation as a place, as a safe haven for terrorists, for extremists, and… pic.twitter.com/F2LZGTJ6b9— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2023
This development came hours after India temporarily halted visa services for Canadian citizens, a move believed to be connected to the ongoing diplomatic dispute regarding allegations of Indian government involvement in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, media reported.
Bilateral ties turned sour following a larger international dispute between India and Canada, with Ottawa asserting it has "credible allegations" implicating New Delhi agents in the incident.
The Indian government has vehemently denied these claims, dismissing them as baseless and agenda-driven.
The exact connection between the visa suspension and this dispute remains uncertain.
Earlier, NDTV reported that a notice by BLS International, the private agency hired for initial scrutiny of visa applications of Canadian nationals, said "Due to operational reasons... Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice".
Relations between India and Canada had already become strained following the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canada's Justin Trudeau during the G20 Summit in Delhi earlier this month. During the conversation, the Indian Prime Minister conveyed in strong words India's "serious apprehensions regarding ongoing anti-India activities" within Canada.
Relationship between New Delhi and Ottawa touched a new low after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged India's involvement in the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
Trudeau alleged that there are "credible allegations of a potential link" between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in the British Columbia state of Canada in June.
Soon after Trudeau levelled the allegations against the Indian government in the country's Parliament, Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly announced the expulsion of a “top Indian diplomat” as a consequence.
In a befitting reply to Canada's actions, India also sacked a Canadian diplomat and asked him to leave the country within the next five days.
India rejected the allegations made by Canada over the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
"Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected," read the statement issued by the MEA.