December 9, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

India partially resumes visa services in Canada

India partially resumed its visa services in Canada on Thursday, a month after it suspended its operations following a diplomatic row over allegations that it was behind the killing of a Sikh separatist in the North American country.

India had suspended visa applications for Canadian citizens in September after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that there were “potential links between agents of the Indian government” and Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing.

The Indian High Commission in Ottawa said services for entry, business, medical and conference visas will be allowed starting on Thursday in a move seen as a major de-escalation by New Delhi.

“After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some of the recent Canadian measures in this regard, it has been decided to resume visa services,” the High Commission said.

It said emergency services would continue to be handled by the Indian High Commission and the consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.

The entry visa is meant for Indian-origin Canadians and the business visa is for Canadian business travellers and investors in India. Tourist visas have not been resumed for Canadian citizens.

Mr Nijjar, 46, was a leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force, one of the separatist groups seeking the creation of a homeland called Khalistan for the Sikh religious minority in India’s Punjab region.

He was designated a terrorist by India in 2020.

Mr Nijjar was shot dead in his vehicle outside a Sikh temple in Surrey in the Canadian province of British Columbia in June.

Ottawa and New Delhi expelled each other’s diplomats and Indians living in Canada were advised to exercise “utmost caution”.

New Delhi had dismissed the claim as “absurd and motivated” and in ensuing diplomatic tension, had closed the visa services temporarily.

India said that High Commission and consulates had faced threats that affected and disrupted their functioning.

It also asked Canada to withdraw dozens of its diplomatic staff by October 20 and threatened to remove their immunity “for all but 21” if they remained.

Forty-one Canadian diplomats left India last week.

Last week, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had said that India will resume issuing visas to Canadian citizens if it “sees progress” in the safety of its diplomats there.

Canada has one of the largest overseas communities of Indian origin with a population of 1.4 million and the highest population of Sikhs, about 770,000, outside their home state of Punjab.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 10:00 AM