The Indian embassy in Ottawa has declared that it will resume offering visa services to Canadians, a decision that may help ease tensions in a contentious conflict regarding the assassination of a Sikh separatist on Canadian territory.
The connection between India and Canada deteriorated when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly accused Indian intelligence of involvement in the death of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar last month. The Indian government dismissed these allegations as ridiculous.
Nijjar, who supported the creation of a separate Sikh nation independent from India, was sought by Indian officials for accusations of terrorism and plotting to kill.
Canada has requested India’s collaboration in the inquiry regarding his passing and removed an Indian representative due to the situation.
The city of New Delhi showed strong anger and responded by implementing retaliatory actions, such as suspending visa services for Canadians.
The Indian high commission stated on Wednesday that after carefully reviewing the security situation and considering recent Canadian measures, they have chosen to continue providing visa services.
Last week, Canada declared that it had recalled 41 diplomats from India due to the ongoing dispute.
The government of New Delhi was planning to withdraw diplomatic protection from nearly all of Canada’s diplomats and their families, resulting in Ottawa having to recall the remaining individuals.
The Indian government has cautioned its citizens against traveling to certain areas of Canada due to the rise in anti-Indian incidents.
In June, Nijjar, a Sikh temple member who moved to Canada in 1997 and gained Canadian citizenship in 2015, was fatally shot by two individuals wearing masks in the temple’s parking lot.
There are approximately 770,000 Sikhs residing in Canada, accounting for about 2% of the nation’s total population. A small but outspoken group is advocating for the formation of a distinct state known as Khalistan.
The movement for Sikh separatism in India has mostly ended, as the government used lethal measures to suppress an uprising in Punjab during the 1980s.
Last month, numerous Sikh demonstrators gathered outside of Indian embassies in Canada, setting fire to flags and disrespecting images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.