India has resumed e-visa services for Canadian nationals after a suspension lasting close to two months, on Wednesday. The interruption, initiated on September 21, ensued amidst a diplomatic dispute over Canada’s assertions implicating “agents of the Indian government” in the June killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, within its borders.
The resumption of visa services encompasses all categories, encompassing tourist visas, marking a comprehensive restart. Four types, notably business and medical visas, had resumed the previous month.
In response to the strained relations, India had previously halted the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens, declaring it as a temporary measure.
Tensions escalated between the two nations, leading to reciprocal expulsions of senior diplomats and India advocating for a balance in the number of senior officials assigned to missions in both countries.
Additionally, travel advisories were exchanged, with India cautioning its citizens in Canada and potential travelers, advising them to exercise vigilance due to alleged “politically-condoned” hate crimes.
India has consistently and emphatically refuted the “absurd” and “motivated” allegations regarding Nijjar’s death, demanding that Ottawa provide evidence substantiating its claims.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reiterated India’s stance, urging the Canadian government to share any evidence supporting their allegations during an event in the United Kingdom last week. He stated, “We are not ruling out an investigation… (but) if you (the Canadian government) have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us. We will look at anything you have to offer.”
Relations between India and Canada have significantly deteriorated following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement alleging credible connections between Indian government “agents” and Nijjar’s killing.
Moreover, discussions on a longstanding trade deal, on hold since September, remain suspended as Canada prioritizes its focus on the case. Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng suggested that the talks might continue to remain inactive due to their emphasis on this matter, which Canada requested to pause even before Trudeau’s claim.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, aged 45, was fatally shot in June outside a gurudwara in Vancouver, Canada. In 2020, the Indian government formally designated Nijjar as a terrorist.