Friday, June 14, 2024

Canada withdraws 41 diplomats after India revokes their immunities “unilaterally”

The Canadian government on Thursday withdrew 41 diplomats from India in a deepening crisis between the countries over the killing of a Khalistani leader.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly confirmed that India formally communicated its plan to remove immunities unilaterally for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in New Delhi by October 20, 2023.

“This means 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having their immunities stripped,” Joly said.

Relations between the countries have suffered since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month publicly linked Indian intelligence to the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

India has refuted the allegations while Canada maintains they have credible evidence to investigate.

“Given the security implications of India’s actions on these Canadian diplomats and their families, Canada has facilitated their safe departure from India.”

Joly said the unilateral revocation of diplomatic privileges and immunities is contrary to international law, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“This action taken by India is completely unreasonable and escalatory. India accredited each and every one of the Canadian diplomats they are now expelling. And all of those diplomats were carrying out their duties in good faith, and to the greater benefit of both countries.”

India hasn’t immediately responded to the statement made by Canada.

She urged India to respect Diplomatic immunities and pointed out that it cannot be unilaterally revoked by a host country.

“If we allow this norm to be broken, no diplomat anywhere would be safe. As such, the Government of Canada will continue to respect diplomatic norms and not reciprocate this action,” She said.

“India’s decision will not distract from Canada’s legitimate investigation into the killing of Mr. Nijjar. Canada’s priorities in this matter continue to be the pursuit of the truth, the protection of Canadians, and the defence of our sovereignty” Joly added.

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