India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid an escalating row over the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.
This week, tensions escalated when Canada announced an investigation into "credible allegations" connecting India to the murder of a separatist leader. India strongly denied the accusation, dismissing it as "absurd." Experts believe that the already strained relations between the two countries have now reached an unprecedented low point.
The message about the suspension of visas was first posted on the BLS website on Thursday.
"Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice," it read.
India's foreign ministry declined to comment and directed our correspondent to refer to the BLS website. This came after India issued a travel advisory urging caution due to growing anti-India activities and hate crimes in Canada. According to the 2021 census, Canada has 1.4 million people of Indian origin, accounting for 3.7% of the population. Additionally, India sends the highest number of international students to Canada, making up 40% of total overseas students in 2022.
India has suspended visas for Canadians amidst the escalating row. Delhi expressed concerns over threats to its diplomats and Indians opposing the anti-India agenda. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned intelligence agencies investigating the involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of a Canadian citizen designated as a terrorist by India. India responded strongly, accusing Canada of diverting attention from Khalistani terrorists. The Khalistan movement, seeking a separate Sikh homeland, has support among some in the Sikh diaspora in countries like Canada.