The Calm After the Storm
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India’s embassy in Canada will resume visa services for Canadians, a move that aims to reduce tensions between the two nations amid a dispute over the assassination of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil, Agence France-Presse reported.
Last month, diplomatic relations between India and Canada plunged to new lows after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian intelligence agents were responsible for the deadly shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was killed by two masked attackers in the parking lot of a Sikh temple near Vancouver in June.
He was an activist and promoted the creation of a separate Sikh state in India known as Khalistan. Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities on charges of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder.
Following Trudeau’s statements, the Canadian government expelled an Indian diplomat and urged New Delhi to cooperate in probing Nijjar’s killing.
The Indian government swiftly rejected the accusations as “absurd” and issued a series of counter-measures, including shutting down visa services.
But this week, Indian officials said they would resume consular services after reviewing the security situation at their missions, and in light of recent Canadian measures which they did not specify, the BBC noted.
The diplomatic dispute resulted in Canada withdrawing 41 diplomats from India last week. Meanwhile, India has advised its nationals not to travel to parts of Canada, “given the increase in anti-Indian activities.”
Canada is home to around 770,000 Sikhs, comprising about two percent of the country’s total population.
While some Sikhs in Canada advocate for an independent state, the separatist movement in India has substantially declined since the 1980s, when Indian security forces used lethal means to suppress an insurgency in the Punjab region.