India resumes e-Visa services for Canadians after diplomatic row

India resumes e-Visa services for Canadians after diplomatic row

Ottawa/New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) India on Wednesday resumed issuing electronic visas for Canadian nationals after suspending it following a diplomatic row over Ottawa's accusation of possible Indian government involvement in the murder of a Canadian Sikh separatist leader.

The latest move is being seen as a step that could reduce tensions between the two countries.

India had started issuing Entry visa, Business visa, Medical visa, and Conference visa from October 26 after halting its visa services for Canadian nationals following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of the 'potential' involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18 in British Columbia.

Tensions flared between India and Canada in September after Trudeau's allegations. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

India has rejected Trudeau's allegations as 'absurd' and 'motivated'. Days later, New Delhi announced it was temporarily suspending the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in India.

On Wednesday, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa issued a notice on X, saying Indian eVisa facility has been restored with effect from 22 November 2023, for all eligible Canadian citizens holding Regular/Ordinary Canadian passports.

'Holder of any other category of Canadian passport will need to apply for regular paper visa, in accordance with the existing modalities - details may be found on the respective websites of High Commission of India, Ottawa; Consulate General of India, Toronto and Consulate General of India, Vancouver,' it said.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India had 'temporarily suspended visa issuance because the situation in Canada made it difficult for our diplomats to go to office and do the necessary work for processing visas.' 'As the situation there has become more secure or relatively improved, I think we have found it possible for the visa services to progressively resume. The physical visas had started in many categories and at that time we had said we would look into e-visas. So, I think it was a logical consequence of that,' Jaishankar said in response to a question at a press briefing at the conclusion of the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau participated in the virtual G20 Summit.

Since Trudeau's remarks in the Canadian Parliament in September, India and Canada have expelled a senior diplomat each. India has also forced 'parity' in diplomatic presence at Canadian missions here leading to the withdrawal of 41 diplomats.

India has said that Canada had not provided any evidence to back Trudeau's claims.

'If you have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us. We are not ruling out an investigation and looking at anything which they may have to offer. They haven't done so,' Jaishankar said during a visit to the UK recently.

India had also asked Canada to come down hard on terrorists and anti-India elements operating from its soil. PTI ASK/SKU AKJ AKJ

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