Sunday, December 3, 2023

Indian visa services in Canada suspended as rift widens over assassination of Sikh leader

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Indian visa services in Canada were on Thursday suspended till further notice for “operational reasons” as the rift between two countries widened in the wake of Canada’s allegations that India may have been involved in the assassination of a Sikh leader in suburban Vancouver.

BLS International, the agency which runs Indian visa application centres in Canada, posted a message on its website about services being suspended though a formal announcement has not been made.

It is not yet clear if the suspension of visas is linked to the recent developments.

On Monday, Trudeau said his country’s security agencies had information indicating “agents of the Indian government” had assassinated Sikh leader Nijjar, who was a Canadian citizen.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves,” Trudeau told his government.

India has rejected the allegation as “absurd” and “motivated”.

The two countries then each expelled a senior official; Canada ordered a senior official of the Research and Analysis Wing to leave the country and India, on Tuesday, expelled a top Canadian diplomat for “interference… in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities.”

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