India suspends visa services for Canadian nationals

Pune Pulse India suspends visa services for Canadian nationals

India suspends visa services for Canadian nationals

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New Delhi, September 21 : In the backdrop of fast deteriorating diplomatic ties with Canada, India on Thursday suspended issuing visa to Canadian nationals.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said all categories of visas, including e-visas, have been suspended.

“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,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said here.

The decision came amidst an intensifying diplomatic tension between the two countries, sparked off by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement that his country’s security agencies have been actively pursuing “allegations” of a potential link between Indian government agents and the murder of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

While New Delhi outrightly rejected Trudeau’s allegation, calling it “absurd” and “motivated”, the relations between the two countries have been hurtling south, with each expelling a senior diplomat in tit-for-tat action.

India has also issued a travel advisory for Indian nationals, particularly students, in Canada and also those contemplating travel to the North American country, asking them to exercise utmost caution.

The first indication of India’s suspension of visa services came on Thursday morning when BLS International, that runs the visa application centres in Canada, posted a message on its Canadian website quoting the Indian mission.

“Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21st September 2023 [Thursday], Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice.”

Later, Bagchi blamed the Canadian government’s “incitement of violence and inaction” for India resorting to the firm action.

“The issue is not about travel to India but the issue is incitement of violence and inaction by the Canadian government”.

However, he clarified that those who already have valid visas and OCI cards can travel freely.

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