India Resumes E-Visa Services For Canadians After 2-Month Pause: Sources

New Delhi, Nov 22 (Agency) India has resumed electronic visa services for Canadian nationals after a nearly two-month pause, sources told NDTV on Wednesday. Visa services had been suspended on September 21 amid the ongoing diplomatic row over Canada’s claims that “agents of the Indian government” were involved in the June killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, in that country. This means that all visa services have now resumed, including tourist visas. Services for four, including business and medical visas, had resumed last month.In September, India had suspended issue of visas to Canadian citizens “till further notice”. This was after the two countries traded diplomatic barbs, including expelling a senior diplomat each and India forcing “parity” in the number of senior officials deputed to missions in each country. The two nations also exchanged travel advisories; India advised its citizens in Canada, and those contemplating travelling, to exercise “utmost caution” in view of “politically-condoned” hate crimes. The Indian government has repeatedly and firmly denied “absurd” and “motivated” allegations that it was involved in the death of Nijjar, and has demanded Ottawa share evidence to back its claims.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reiterated India’s demand last week; at an event in the United Kingdom, which has been pushing India to co-operate with Canada’s inquiry, Mr Jaishankar said, “We are not ruling out an investigation… (but) if you (the Canadian government) have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us. We will look at anything you have to offer.” India-Canada ties have taken a big hit since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s big claim – that his government has “credible allegations” linking Indian government “agents” to Nijjar’s killing. The two countries have also paused talks on a long-pending trade deal. Talks on that – on hold since September – may remain on ice as Canada is “focused” on this case, that country’s Trade Minister, Mary Ng, suggested. Canada asked for the “pause” before Mr Trudeau’s claim. Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead in June outside a gurudwara in Canada’s Vancouver. The Indian government had formally designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.