The diplomatic crisis between Canada and India has reached a new height with Canada pulling 41 diplomats and their families from India. This move comes after India threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunities of Canadian diplomats if Ottawa did not comply with demands for parity in diplomatic staffing. The tensions between the two countries have been escalating since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations about the Indian government’s involvement in the extrajudicial killing of a Sikh separatist in Canada. In response to India’s actions, Canada has been forced to temporarily suspend in-person services at consulates in Bengaluru, Chandigarh, and Mumbai.
Canada confirmed that India had formally communicated its plan to remove immunities unilaterally for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in New Delhi by October 20, 2023. This move effectively reduced Canada’s diplomatic presence in India by about two-thirds. As a result, Canada had no choice but to suspend in-person services at several of its consulates, leaving its High Commission in New Delhi as the only place where it can offer services in the country. This is a significant setback for Canada, as India has been its largest source of new migrants.
India’s Ministry for External Affairs has shown no immediate response to Canada’s statement. However, in September, after reciprocal diplomatic expulsions, India issued a travel warning for its citizens and suspended visa applications to Canada. India also demanded parity in diplomatic staffing, which meant that Canada had to reduce its staff numbers in India. India’s action of unilaterally revoking diplomatic privileges and immunities is seen as contrary to international law, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Canada has criticized this move, stating that diplomatic immunities should be respected and cannot be unilaterally revoked. They argued that if this norm is broken, no diplomat anywhere would be safe.
The diplomatic crisis between Canada and India has serious implications for both countries. With Canada reducing its diplomatic presence in India, there will be a significant impact on bilateral relations, trade, and people-to-people contacts. The suspension of visa applications and the travel warning issued by India may also discourage Indian citizens from traveling to Canada. This could have economic consequences for Canada, as India has been an important source of migrants and a potential market for Canadian businesses.
The long-term effects of this diplomatic crisis on bilateral relations remain uncertain. Both countries will need to find a way to resolve their differences and rebuild trust. Dialogue and diplomacy will be crucial in overcoming this crisis and reestablishing a positive relationship between Canada and India. It is in the interest of both nations to work towards finding a solution that addresses each other’s concerns and ensures the safety and well-being of diplomats from both sides. Only through open communication and mutual understanding can Canada and India pave the way for a brighter future in their diplomatic relationship.
The diplomatic crisis between Canada and India has escalated with Canada pulling its diplomats and their families from India. The tensions between the two countries have been fueled by allegations and demands for parity in diplomatic staffing. The implications of this crisis are significant, affecting bilateral relations, trade, and people-to-people contacts. It is crucial for Canada and India to engage in dialogue and seek diplomatic solutions to repair the damaged relationship and ensure the safety of diplomats. The future of their diplomatic ties will depend on the willingness of both countries to work towards a resolution.