"it has been decided to resume visa services."
India’s High Commission in Ottawa, Canada will be resuming some visa services for Canadians.
Relations between India and Canada plummeted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly linked New Delhi to the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India reacted with outrage at Mr Trudeau’s comments and responded by closing visa services for Canadians.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities due to allegations of terrorism and an apparent conspiracy to commit murder.
He was assassinated by two masked assailants in a Vancouver car park in June 2023.
New Delhi subsequently informed Canada that they must withdraw over 40 diplomats.
At the time, Mr Trudeau had said: “Obviously, we are going through an extremely challenging time with India right now.
“That’s why it is so important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government and there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”
The Indian High Commission opened up about their decision to resume visa services. They disclosed:
“After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some of the recent Canadian measures in this regard, it has been decided to resume visa services.”
Mr Trudeau has urged cooperation from India regarding the matter.
He asserted that Canada is not seeking to damage their relations with India any further.
Matthew Miller, a spokesperson from the Canadian State Department said:
“Resolving differences requires diplomats on the ground.
“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.”
In September 2023, Mr Trudeau had a tense meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Mr Modi allegedly conveyed strong concerns about protests against India that took place in Canada.
Canadian Immigration Officer Marc Miller said that it was “really concerning the diplomatic situation with India has created a lot of fear in a lot of communities”.
Marilyne Guèvremont, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada stressed the importance of resuming visa services:
“Canada and India share important people-to-people ties.”
“India’s resumption of visa services will make it easier for families and businesses to travel between our countries.”
Approximately 770,000 Sikhs currently live in Canada, which makes up 2% of the country’s population.
The resumption of some visa services indeed seems like a step in the right direction.