India announced it will resume issuing visas to Canada

New Delhi suspended the service a month ago at Indian offices in Canada and for Canadian citizens worldwide.

The high commission announced the resumption of issuance of business visas, medical visas and conference visas, as well as entry of family-related persons into India. Diplomatic missions do not provide information regarding other types of visas.

The Canadian press confirmed the authenticity of social media posts regarding the decision and asked, so far without result, whether tourist, student and journalist visa applications would also be processed by Indian officials.

India restricted visa issuance after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed in the House of Commons last month that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating “credible” information regarding “potential links” between the Indian government and the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader in British Columbia.

India stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on September 21, and then worldwide. New Delhi argues that its diplomats in Canada cannot work safely.

However, in an interview with The Canadian Press three weeks earlier, High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma said he was “very satisfied” with the way Canada was strengthening its protections.

The high commission’s statement on Wednesday did not indicate whether Canadians in other countries can also apply for these visas through Indian missions elsewhere in the world.

Before Trudeau’s announcement significantly raised tensions between Canada and India, New Delhi had publicly condemned protests by Sikh separatist groups outside its diplomatic mission in Canada, as well as posters appearing to offer cash rewards for Indian diplomats’ addresses.

India has officially asked Canada to better respect its duty to protect foreign diplomats.

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said on September 14 that Indian diplomats in Canada “benefit from 24/7 security” – a service Ottawa provides to very few diplomatic missions.

Serena Hoyles

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