India has decided to resume visa services in Canada in select categories from Thursday, partially rolling back the decision taken a little over a month ago to suspend visas for Canadians in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleging an Indian government hand in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Only four — entry, business, medical and conference — out of the 14 categories of visas that India issues to Canadian citizens have been resumed as of now, the Indian high commission in Ottawa said in its media release on Wednesday.
Visa services will resume at the high commission and also at the consulates-general in Vancouver and Toronto.
The high commission did not elaborate much on what are the factors which made India reconsider its decision to suspend visa services on September 21.
All that the media release said was: "After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard, it has been decided to resume visa services for the following categories with effect from October 26, 2023….’’
Last Sunday, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar had indicated that if there was substantial progress in ensuring the safety of Indian diplomats in Canada, New Delhi could resume visa services soon. On October 20, Canada announced a temporary suspension of in-person operations at the consulates-general in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chandigarh after pulling out 41 of its diplomats in India. Canada had also warned that this would affect visa services to Indians.
New Zealand on Wednesday joined major Western democracies in expressing concern over India’s decision to ask Canada to withdraw 41 of its diplomats on the premise of parity in strength and rank. "We are concerned India’s demand that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence there has led to the departure of a large number of Canadian diplomats from India. Now seems the time for more diplomacy, not less.
"We expect all states to uphold their obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, including in relation to the privileges and immunities of accredited staff," the New Zealand ministry of foreign affairs and trade said in a post on X.
India has been insisting that its insistence on parity in number and rank is well within the provisions of the Vienna Convention.