A notice by BLS International, an online visa application centre, that revealed India has suspended visa services for Canadian nationals till further notice has now been taken down.
The notice was put up by the website on Thursday, three days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations regarding a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
The notice by BLS International read, “Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking BLS website for further updates.”
Trudeau’s allegations unleashed a diplomatic row with India rejecting the charges as “absurd” and “motivated” and kicking out a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official.
Earlier on Wednesday, India advised all its citizens living in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise “utmost caution” in view of growing anti-India activities and “politically-condoned” hate crimes in the North American country.
In a strongly-worded advisory, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi referred to “threats” targeting Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community that oppose the “anti-India agenda”, and asked Indian nationals to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada which have seen such incidents.
However, the Canadian government has discarded India’s warning to its citizens against visiting parts of Canada. The country’s Public Safety Minister Dominic Leblanc said “Canada is a safe country”, as reported by Reuters.
India’s warning followed Canada’s advisory to its nationals in India. The Canadian government on Tuesday urged its nationals to “observe a high degree of caution”.
“There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities,” it added. The advisory suggested citizens living in India to “think about leaving the country if it is safe to do so”.
(Update: BLS took down the notice; the copy has been updated since)
Also Read: ‘Canada is a safe country’: Ottawa rejects India’s warning that travel to Canada unsafe
Also Read: ‘So quick to judge others’: Shashi Tharoor lambasts Western media over India-Canada row
Also Read: ‘Indo-Canadian Hindus, Go to India’: Khalistani outfit SFJ threatens Indians amid India-Canada stalemate