India Orders 41 Canadian Diplomats Expelled In Latest Escalation

India has again escalated the deepening rift with Canada after last month prime minister Justin Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” that Indian intelligence agents were behind the assassination of the Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside Vancouver in June.

India has ordered a whopping 41 Canadian diplomats expelled from its embassy in Delhi. Canada has 62 diplomats in the country, per AP sources, which will reduce the number to 21.

FT, which was the first outlet to report the development, indicated that “Ottawa has been told by New Delhi that it must repatriate roughly 40 diplomats by October 10, according to people familiar with the demand.”

Further, “One person said India had threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of diplomats who remain after that date.”

Initially each side had expelled at least one official in the wake of the accusation over the Nijjar killing. Canada had moved to boot India’s top intelligence official in Canada. India escalated at the time with a ban on all new visa applications for Canadians. Each side also issued travel advisories warning their citizens about travel in the opposing country.

Trudeau had emphasized he doesn’t want relations with Indian to spiral, and called on the Modi government to cooperate in the investigation. Delhi has shot back that the accusation that it conducted a state assassination on Canadian soil is “absurd” and politically “motivated”. 

Indian officials have meanwhile complained that under Trudeau Canada has become a “safe haven for terrorists” – given Nijjar had long been designated a terrorists by Delhi, with an award on his head.

Among the latest barbs was from Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who last week said Canada is fostering a “climate of violence” against Indian diplomats in Ottawa. Jaishankar asserted that “our diplomats are threatened and our consulates have been attacked.”

India has further charged that that Canadian government is trying to “shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who were given shelter there.

Trudeau at the G20 summit in India, held Sept.9-10 tried to rally Western allies to pile the pressure on PM Modi, but reportedly to no avail, as many countries including the US are wary of harming relations with India and its large economy. 


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