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India Suspends Canadian Visas Amid Escalating Row: A Deep Dive into the Conflict On Murder Of A Person Designated as a terrorist by India in 2020

India Suspends Canadian Visas : India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens, raising diplomatic tensions to new heights. This bold move comes against the backdrop of an escalating row over the murder of a Sikh separatist Khalistani Terrorist on Canadian soil.

New Delhi, 21 September(City Times): India Suspends Canadian Visas: In a shocking turn of events, India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens, raising diplomatic tensions to new heights. This bold move comes against the backdrop of an escalating row over the murder of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil. According To BBC The conflict has not only strained bilateral relations but also brought to light the complexities surrounding Sikh separatism, pro-Khalistan sentiments, and the global implications of this longstanding issue.

Understanding the Khalistan Movement

To comprehend the roots of this conflict, we must first delve into the history of the Khalistan movement. The movement seeks the establishment of an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan. Its origins can be traced back to the 1940s, but it gained significant traction in the 1980s when a violent insurgency rocked the Sikh-majority Punjab state in India. (India Suspends Canadian Visas)

The movement was eventually quelled by force, and it lost its resonance within India. However, it still maintains a level of support among some members of the Sikh diaspora, particularly in countries like Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The Escalation: Canada’s Allegations and India’s Response

According To AL Jazeera The recent escalation in tensions began when Canada announced it was investigating “credible allegations” linking India to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen previously designated as a terrorist by India in 2020. Nijjar was fatally shot in his vehicle by two masked gunmen outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia on June 18.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statements further fuelled the controversy. He stated that Canadian intelligence agencies were probing whether “agents of the government of India” were involved in Nijjar’s killing, a statement that raised eyebrows in diplomatic circles.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

In response, India swiftly and sternly rejected these allegations, characterizing them as “absurd.” India accused Canada of attempting to divert attention away from the presence of Khalistani extremists and terrorists who have found shelter within Canadian borders.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

Here’s a table summarizing the key points regarding India-Canada relations:

Aspect of RelationsDescription
Background of RelationsDiplomatic relations between India and Canada date back to 1947. Recent milestones include elevating ties to a strategic partnership in 2015. Both nations actively collaborate in various sectors.
Bilateral MechanismsRelations are managed through ministerial-level dialogues, Foreign Office Consultations, and joint working groups.
Commercial RelationsBoth countries seek to enhance trade and economic relations. Negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) were ongoing, covering trade in goods, services, investment, and trade facilitation.
Nuclear CooperationIndia and Canada signed a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) in 2010, which came into force in 2013.
Science and TechnologyCollaboration focuses on industrial R&D, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, and more. Joint research ventures in healthcare, agri-biotech, and waste management are conducted.
Space CooperationCollaboration includes space science, earth observation, satellite launch services, and ground support for space missions. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed in 1996 and 2003 between ISRO and the Canadian Space Agency.
Security and DefenceBoth nations collaborate in international forums, with expanding defence ties, including cooperation on counterterrorism issues.
AgricultureAn MoU on agriculture cooperation was signed in 2009, leading to sub-groups on knowledge exchange in various areas.
EducationIndia is the top source of foreign students in Canada. An MoU on Higher Education was renewed in 2018.
People-to-People TiesCanada hosts a substantial Indian diaspora, contributing to various sectors. Cultural exchanges, including film co-production and Diwali celebrations, foster connections.
COVID-19 CooperationCollaboration included repatriation flights and the supply of essential medicines.
ChallengesChallenges include the Khalistan separatist issue, Canadian statements on Indian developments, and structural challenges in India.
Recent RiftTensions escalated due to allegations of Indian government involvement in a Khalistani leader’s murder. Trade negotiations were suspended, impacting a potential Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Impact on TradeA successful CEPA could boost bilateral trade significantly. Trade in goods reached $8 billion in 2022, with Canada primarily importing energy products and India exporting various goods. Canadian investment in India and vice versa has been substantial.
Indian Students in CanadaIndia is the largest source of international students in Canada, benefiting Canadian institutions and providing opportunities for Indian students. The growing Sikh population in Canada also has economic ties with India.
Way ForwardPrioritize diplomatic dialogue, resume trade negotiations, collaborate on counterterrorism, enhance people-to-people ties, revisit bilateral agreements, engage with the Sikh community, respect sovereignty, participate in multilateral forums, encourage civil society initiatives, establish conflict resolution mechanisms, and promote responsible media coverage.
India-Canada relations UPSCThe diplomatic relations encompass various sectors, with ongoing negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Challenges include Sikh separatist groups in Canada and India’s structural impediments. Enhancing mutual understanding and exploring investment potential are crucial for a prosperous relationship.
This table provides a concise overview of India-Canada relations, including their history, key areas of cooperation, challenges, recent developments, and the way forward.

Visa Suspension: The Latest Development

On September 21, 2023, India took a drastic step by suspending visa services for Canadian citizens. The official statement cited “operational reasons” for this decision, leaving many to speculate about the real motivations behind the move.

This suspension has far-reaching consequences. Beyond the obvious implications for bilateral travel, it threatens the livelihoods and educational pursuits of Indian students in Canada. In 2022, Indian students comprised a staggering 40% of the total overseas student population in Canada, with their numbers reaching approximately 320,000. The suspension of visa services has left these students in limbo, uncertain about their future prospects.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

International Student Trends in Canada (2018-2022)

YearTotal International StudentsIndian International Students
20186,37,8601,71,505
20195,27,3652,18,540
2020N/A1,79,510
20216,17,3152,16,500
20228,07,7503,19,000

Table 2: International Student Statistics for the First Half of 2023

CountryNumber of International Students
India1,75,021
Nigeria43,482
Total4,34,899
These tables summarize the data related to international student trends in Canada, specifically focusing on the number of Indian students and trends in the first half of 2023.

Warnings and Advisories

As tensions continued to mount, both India and Canada issued advisories to their respective citizens. These advisories reflect the deteriorating state of diplomatic relations.

India’s advisory urged its citizens traveling to or residing in Canada to “exercise utmost caution.” It cited the “growing anti-India activities” in Canada, highlighting concerns about “politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence.”

On the other side, Canada expressed concern about threats to its diplomats and citizens. It issued its own advisory warning against potential dangers and safety risks. The diplomatic fallout was becoming increasingly evident.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

Pro-Khalistan Sentiment: A Broader Perspective

According To New York Times Understanding the depth of the pro-Khalistan sentiment within Canada is crucial to contextualizing the current conflict. Canada is home to the largest Sikh population outside India, with around 780,000 Sikh people constituting more than 2% of the country’s total population. This sizable community has provided fertile ground for pro-Khalistan sentiments.

The pro-Khalistan movement has manifested in various ways within Canada, including protests and demonstrations. Reports of pro-Khalistan activities have occasionally made headlines, indicating that the sentiment still simmers within the Canadian Sikh community.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

Examining India-Canada Relations

The diplomatic strains between India and Canada are not isolated to this recent conflict but have been building over time. This incident is just one in a series of events that have strained bilateral relations.

It is imperative to consider how this conflict affects the broader relationship between the two countries. As tensions escalate, the future of India-Canada relations remains uncertain.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

Crucial To Recognize The Need For Diplomatic Dialogue

As India and Canada grapple with the fallout from this conflict, it is crucial to recognize the need for diplomatic dialogue and conflict resolution. The complex web of issues surrounding Sikh separatism, pro-Khalistan sentiments, and the presence of extremists within diaspora communities requires a nuanced approach.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

While this conflict continues to unfold, it serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by countries dealing with diaspora-related issues on the international stage. The path forward for India and Canada is uncertain, but a resolution is essential to mend strained relations and address the concerns of their citizens.(India Suspends Canadian Visas)

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