Canada has been asked to withdraw over three dozens of its diplomats from missions across the country in keeping with the principle of parity in strength and rank equivalence that India has decided to implement in response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of an Indian government hand in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Last month, two days after Trudeau’s disclosure, the external affairs ministry had announced that India had “informed the Canadian government that there should be parity in strength and rank equivalence in our diplomatic presence, in mutual diplomatic presence”; underscoring the fact that their numbers here are much higher than India’s in Canada.
“The details of this are being worked out, but I assume there will be a reduction from the Canadian side,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said. That appears to have been worked out going by a report that appeared in the London-based Financial Times on Tuesday morning of India telling Canada to withdraw about 40 of its diplomats by October 10.
Sources maintained that this was not a new order but part of the process that had been initiated soon after Trudeau accused India on September 18. “One person said India had threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of diplomats who remain after that date,’’ the FT report said.
There was no official word from the ministry on this report.