New Delhi: In a move reflecting escalating tensions in the diplomatic relationship between Canada and India, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced the suspension of visa and consular services at the Canadian consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bangalore. These services will now be only available at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly confirmed that the decision to halt in-person services was made in response to India's plan to unilaterally remove diplomatic immunities for 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents in Delhi. The move is set to take effect by October 20, prompting concerns over the safety of the affected individuals.
Minister Joly expressed her concern about the potential loss of diplomatic immunities for Canadian personnel in India, stating, "As of now, I can confirm that India has formally conveyed its plan to unilaterally remove diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by October 20. This means 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having immunity stripped on an arbitrary date, and this would put their personal safety at risk."
The dispute between the two nations arises from the killing of Jaspal Atwal Nijjar, a Canadian national of Indian origin, who was found dead in India under mysterious circumstances. The incident has strained bilateral relations, prompting India to make the decision to revoke diplomatic immunities for Canadian diplomats in Delhi.
Minister Joly addressed the potential impact of this development on Canadian operations in India, saying, "Canadians watching may be wondering what this means for our operations in India. There's no question that India's decision will impact the levels of services to Consulates in both countries. Unfortunately, we have to put a pause on all in-person services in our Consulates in Chandigarh, in Mumbai, and in Bangalore."
The suspension of services at the Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bangalore consulates will cause inconvenience Canadians and Indian nationals seeking visa and consular assistance.