Canada Withdraws Diplomats from India Amid Escalating Tensions Over Sikh Separatist’s Death


The diplomatic relationship between Canada and India has taken a severe hit, with Canada recalling 41 of its diplomats from India.

This move comes in response to the Indian government’s decision to revoke their diplomatic immunity, further escalating tensions over the murder of a Sikh separatist in Canada.

The deterioration of relations began when Canada suggested that India might have had a hand in the June killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in suburban Vancouver. India, however, vehemently denied these allegations, dismissing them as ‘absurd.’

The Indian government also accused Canada of continually providing refuge to separatists and terrorists.

In response to these accusations, New Delhi has taken several diplomatic steps to express its displeasure. Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly announced that 41 of Canada’s 62 diplomats in India, along with their dependents, have been removed.

However, exceptions have been made for 21 Canadian diplomats who will remain in India.

Joly expressed concern over the safety of Canadian diplomats and their families, stating that the unilateral revocation of diplomatic privilege and immunity is contrary to international law and a clear violation of the Geneva Convention on diplomatic relations.

She described the threat to do so as unreasonable and escalatory.

This diplomatic fallout will undoubtedly affect the level of services provided to citizens of both countries. In-person services in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bangalore are expected to be paused.

The situation was further complicated when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the slaying of Nijjar.

Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader and Canadian citizen, was killed by masked gunmen in Surrey, outside Vancouver. India has long maintained that Nijjar had links to Sikh terrorism.

In retaliation to the accusation, India has also canceled visas for Canadians and previously expelled a senior Canadian diplomat after Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat.

The recent expulsions by India have further heightened the already tense relations between the two countries. Joly stated that India has now violated the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller also noted that the diplomats’ departure would result in a reduction of embassy staff dealing with immigration.

This ongoing diplomatic crisis underscores the need for open dialogue and mutual respect in international relations. It is hoped that both nations can find a way to resolve their differences and restore diplomatic ties.