NEW DELHI: Amid worsening diplomatic ties between India and Canada, New Delhi has asked Ottawa that it must repatriate 41 diplomats by October 10, according to a report published in Financial Times on Tuesday.
Ties between the two US allies have become seriously strained over Canadian suspicion that Indian government agents had a role in the June murder in Canada of a Sikh leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who India had labelled a “terrorist”. India has dismissed the allegation as absurd.
The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the Indian demand, said New Delhi had threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of those diplomats who have been asked to leave if they remain beyond October 10. Canada has 62 diplomats in India and New Delhi had said that the total should be reduced by 41, the newspaper said.
The Indian and Canadian foreign ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said earlier there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian diplomats in Canada, where the presence of Sikh separatist groups has frustrated New Delhi.
Since Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s bombshell revelation that the government of Narendra Modi was likely behind Nijjar’s murder, the Sikh community has staged protests demanding the expulsion of Indian diplomats from London and Ottawa.
On Monday, a large number of Sikhs rallied at the Indian High Commission in London to show their support to Canada and to challenge India’s open and violent interference in other countries against pro-Khalistan activism.