Wednesday February 28, 2024

India urges Canada to repatriate 41 diplomats amid soaring tensions

New Delhi has warned of revoking diplomatic immunity of Canadian diplomats if they don't leave by October 10

By Web Desk
October 03, 2023
This picture shows a Canadian Sikh holding a poster of Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar dueing a demonstration. — AFP/File
This picture shows a Canadian Sikh holding a poster of Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar dueing a demonstration. — AFP/File

New Delhi has requested Ottawa to withdraw 41 diplomats by October 10 due to deteriorating diplomatic relations between India and Canada, according to a Financial Times report on Tuesday.

Relationships between the two US allies have deteriorated significantly as a result of Canadian suspicions that operatives of the Indian government were involved in the murder of Sikh leader and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

India, which designated Nijjar as a "terrorist", dismissed the accusations calling them absurd.

The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the Indian demand, said New Delhi had threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of those diplomats who have been asked to leave if they remain beyond October 10.

Canada has 62 diplomats in India, and New Delhi has suggested a reduction of 41, according to the newspaper. However, the Indian and Canadian foreign ministries have not commented on the matter.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said earlier there was a "climate of violence" and an "atmosphere of intimidation" against Indian diplomats in Canada, where the presence of Sikh separatist groups has frustrated New Delhi.

Nijjar's murder enraged people worldwide

The Sikh community has organised demonstrations calling for the expulsion of Indian diplomats from London and Ottawa ever since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's shocking admission that the Narendra Modi administration was probably responsible for Nijjar's death.

Canadian Sikhs rallied at the Indian High Commission in London to support Canada and challenge India's interference in pro-Khalistan activism, calling for Indian missions to be shut down and High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami to be expelled.

The protesters pledged to continue their activism for Sikhs' self-determination through the global Khalistan Referendum campaign, carrying posters of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Referring to blocking Doraiswami’s entry into Glasgow Gurdwara Sahib, Paramjeet Singh Pamma, UK-EU Coordinator of Khalistan Referendum stated: “It’s the collective decision of the Sikh Sangat that Indian agents should not be allowed to visit the Gurdwara Sahibs because they do not come to pray or pay respect but they come to spy on the Sikhs and spread the lies manufactured by the Hindutva Modi government”.

“Now there is no doubt that Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was assassinated by the Indian agents working under the supervision of Indian High Commission in Canada solely for leading the Khalistan Referendum campaign in Canada,” stated Paramjeet Singh Pamma, UK-EU coordinator of Khalistan Referendum.