Ottawa, October 20: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Thursday said that there would be a slowdown of Indian visa applications after Canada removed its 41 diplomats from India amid the ongoing India-Canada standoff. In a press statement from IRCC said, "Following India's intent to unilaterally remove immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by October 20, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is reducing its number of employees in India from 27 to 5. IRCC will continue to accept and process applicaCanada,Canadian Diplomats,diplomats,Hardeep Singh Nijjar,India,India Canada diplomatic row,India Canada Tension,India-Canada Row,Indian-China Tension,Justin Trudeau,New Delhitions from India, but reduced staffing levels are expected to impact processing times."
Moreover, the statement said that due to the decrease in Canadian diplomatic staff in India, Indian citizens would face delays in overall processing times, responses to enquiries and getting visas or their passports back. Meanwhile, the Canadian authorities have assured that the Canada-based IRCC staff in India will do the day-to-day work required in the country. Canada Updates Travel Advisory for Its Citizens in India, Urges Canadians to 'Exercise High Degree of Caution' in These Indian Cities
Quoting the statement, "The large majority of applications from India are already processed outside the country, with 89% of India's applications processed through the global network. The 5 Canada-based IRCC staff who remain in India will focus on work that requires an in-country presence such as urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment and overseeing key partners." Canada Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced on Thursday (local time) that Canada has removed 41 diplomats and their 42 family members, from India over the ongoing row between the two countries.
"As of now, I can confirm that India has formally conveyed its plan to unethically remove diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by tomorrow, October 20. This means 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having immunity stripped on an arbitrary date. And this would put their personal safety at risk," Joly said, as she confirmed the departure of Canadian diplomats. This comes after India called for a reduction in Canadian diplomats in India, calling for 'parity', owing to the ongoing diplomatic row between the two nations. US Conducts Nuclear Test in Nevada Facility Hours After Russia Revoked Ban on Atomic-Weapons Testing
Canadian Foreign Minister said, "...we have facilitated their safe departure from India. This means that our diplomats and their families have now left diplomatic immunities. Keep diplomats safe, no matter where they're from and where they're sent to. Immunities allow diplomats to do their work without fear of reprisal or arrests from the country they're in." "They are a fundamental principle of diplomacy and this is a two-way street. They only work if every country abides by the rules. A unilateral revocation of diplomatic privilege and immunities is contrary to international law. It is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and threatening to do so is unreasonable and escalatory. If we allow the norm of diplomatic immunity to be broken no diplomats anywhere on the planet would be safe," she said, adding that Canada "will not reciprocate," she said, according to CTV news.
Along with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller, the minister made the announcement about the development "on the situation with India" and how it will affect the level of service delivery Canada can offer following the withdrawal of diplomats. She said, "There's no question that India's decision will impact the levels of services to citizens in both countries. Unfortunately, we have to put a pause on all in-person services in our consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai and in Bangalore."
"Canadians who need consular assistance can still visit our High Commission in Delhi. And you can still also do that in person by phone and by email," she added. Earlier, stating that India's focus is achieving 'parity' in terms of diplomatic presence, the Ministry of External Affairs had called for a reduction in Canadian diplomats in India citing their continued "interference" in New Delhi's "internal matters". Addressing the press briefing earlier, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "Given the much higher presence of diplomats or diplomatic presence here...and their continued interference in our internal matters, we have sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence. Discussions are ongoing on the modalities of achieving this".
"Given that Canadian diplomatic presence is higher, we would assume that there would be a reduction," he added. On being asked if the reduction in the number of Canadian diplomats could see a decrease in the number of visas issued by the Canadian High Commission in India, Bagchi said, "It's up to the Canadian side, who they choose to staff the High Commission with...our concerns are related to ensuring parity in diplomatic presence". He further added that India's primary focus is on two things; having an atmosphere in Canada, where Indian diplomats can work properly and in achieving parity in terms of diplomatic strength.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had alleged that the Indian government was behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India. However, India outrightly rejected the claims, calling it 'absurd' and 'motivated'. Notably, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar, who was a designated terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
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