Recent reports reveal that the Indian government has issued a request to Canada, demanding the recall of approximately 40 of its diplomats from India by October 10. The request, which has not yet received an official statement from the Indian government, follows diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
Canada currently maintains a diplomatic presence of 62 diplomats in India, but India has requested a reduction of 41 diplomats, according to the Financial Times. The specific reasons behind this diplomatic move have not been officially disclosed.
The strained diplomatic relationship between New Delhi and Ottawa reached a low point when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that the Indian government might be involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was fatally shot outside a Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, on June 18.
During a parliamentary debate in Canada, Trudeau claimed that Canada’s national security officials had reason to believe that “agents of the Indian government” were responsible for Nijjar’s killing. Nijjar had also served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
However, India vehemently rejected these claims, describing them as “absurd” and “motivated.” The Indian government argued that Canada had not provided any public evidence to support Trudeau’s allegations regarding Nijjar’s death.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar emphasized that the ongoing issue between India and Canada had persisted for some years, pointing to the permissiveness of the Canadian government concerning terrorism, extremism, and violence.
Jaishankar clarified that the current situation should not be considered a “deadlock” and expressed India’s willingness to review any specific and relevant information shared by the Canadian side regarding the matter.
On a separate note, the United States, represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, raised the issue during discussions with Jaishankar, urging India to cooperate with Canada’s investigation into Singh Nijjar’s death. State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller noted that the Biden administration had engaged with the Indian government on several occasions, emphasizing the importance of cooperation with Canada’s inquiry.
The outcome of India’s response to this cooperation request remains to be seen, as the diplomatic tensions between India and Canada continue to evolve.