According to The Financial Times, “India has instructed Canada to withdraw about 40 diplomats by October 10 in response to Ottawa’s suspicions that New Delhi was involved in the murderous act of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil”.
According to a person with firsthand knowledge of the situation, India has threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of any Canadian diplomat who remains in the country beyond October 10.
According to a source, “Canada has 62 ambassadors in India, but New Delhi has urged them to decrease the manpower at their high commission to 41”.
“Declaring more Canadian diplomats personae non gratae wouldn’t help the situation and would make reducing the emotions associated with this disagreement more difficult,” Peter Boehm, chair of the Canadian Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
According to Boehm, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not plan to back down, and India sees Canada as an “easy mark.” He claimed that New Delhi was aware of Ottawa’s limited ability to retaliate because the latter is governed by a minority administration.”
Trudeau, the Liberal Party’s leader, shares power with Indian-origin and Canadian Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
“India understands that our capacity to retaliate is limited, that we have a minority government, and that the resulting politics are at work.” “Of course, India has an election on the horizon,” Boehms was cited as saying in a report.
Previously, India stated that it desired an equal number of diplomats stationed in both India and Canada. In comparison to India, Canada has several dozen diplomats stationed at its high commission in Delhi.
An extraordinary diplomatic crisis erupted between India and Canada after Trudeau announced on September 18 that Canadian security agencies were actively investigating “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and Nijjar’s death.
India, which branded Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020, has categorically denied Canada’s claims, calling them “absurd” and “motivated.” In June, Nijjar, the leader of the proscribed Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was assassinated outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.
In retaliation for Ottawa’s removal of an Indian official over the matter, India expelled a Canadian diplomat. Visa services for Canadians have also been suspended in New Delhi.
On September 26, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a veiled jab at Canada, urged UN member states not to let “political convenience” dictate responses to terrorism, extremism, and bloodshed. He made the remarks while speaking during the United Nations General Assembly’s 78th session in New York.