Canada pulls 41 diplomats from India

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  • Withdrawal due to threat of loss of diplomatic immunity, Canadian officials
  • India’s violation of international laws is ‘unprecedented’: Foreign Minister
  • Last month, a firestorm erupted as Canadian PM Justin Trudeau accused Indian agents of being involved in the assassination of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18 in British Columbia.

TRENTON, Canada :In a dramatic move, Canada has withdrawn 41 of its diplomats from India, following a stern ultimatum issued by New Delhi, which threatened to revoke their diplomatic immunity by the close of business “tomorrow.” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly delivered this unsettling announcement during a press conference on Thursday.

Joly underscored the inherent risk faced by Canadian diplomats should India proceed with its plan to strip them of their diplomatic privileges on the looming deadline of Friday, October 20. She emphasised the critical nature of diplomatic immunity, a legal safeguard enshrined in international law that shields diplomats stationed in foreign territories from arrest.

In her address, Joly condemned India’s intention to breach international law and flout the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations by nullifying the diplomats’ immunity, deeming it an “unprecedented” move. Nevertheless, she clarified that Canada would not reciprocate this action, asserting that India’s diplomats will remain untouched and continue to enjoy their diplomatic protection.

The tumultuous relationship between the two nations took a nosedive on September 18, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly accused India of involvement in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh. The assailants, concealed by masks, gunned down Nijjar in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 19, and to date, no arrests have been made.

Trudeau, in his call for India to cooperate in the murder investigation, sought to emphasize the gravity of the situation. During Thursday’s press conference, Joly reiterated Canada’s commitment to engaging with India on this issue, reaffirming their pursuit of justice.

This diplomatic downsizing now leaves Canada with a reduced contingent of 21 diplomats responsible for consular services within India, which is expected to have an adverse impact on the quality of services offered in the country. Minister of Immigration Marc Miller, who joined Joly in the press conference, acknowledged this drawback. However, he reassured that Canada remains open to welcoming Indian diplomats on its soil, maintaining an unwavering commitment to diplomatic decorum.