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Canada Visa Ban for Indians: Unpacking the Impact and Alternatives

Visa Service Suspended For Canadian Citizens: 

Introduction

In a surprising turn of events, India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid rising tensions between the two nations. This move comes as a response to recent incidents and political disagreements, marking the first time India has halted visa services since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncertainty Surrounding the Suspension

While there has been no official statement regarding the suspension of visa services, BLS International, the agency responsible for processing visa applications in Canada, posted a message on their Canadian website, stating, “Important Notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, Indian visa services stand suspended until further notice from September 21, 2023 [Thursday].”

Conflicting Reports

Media reports initially claimed that an Indian official confirmed the suspension of visa services but later retracted their statements. The situation remains somewhat unclear, with no official communication from Indian authorities regarding the reasons behind the suspension.

India’s Travel Advisory

Before suspending visa services, India issued a travel advisory, urging its citizens and those planning to travel to Canada to exercise extreme caution. The advisory, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, specifically advised Indian students in Canada to be vigilant and alert.

MEA stated, “Given the increasing anti-India activities and politically motivated hate crimes in Canada, all Indian citizens and those considering travel to Canada are strongly advised to exercise extreme caution.”

The advisory further mentioned, “Recently, individuals with a specific agenda against India have targeted Indian nationals and Indian communities. Therefore, Indian citizens are advised to avoid traveling to areas and locations in Canada where such incidents have been reported.”

Strained Bilateral Relations

The diplomatic relations between both countries have been severely strained, especially after allegations of Canadian involvement in the “possible” complicity of Indian agents in the murder of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. These allegations led to a significant deterioration in political ties between India and Canada.

India dismissed the allegations on Tuesday, describing them as “baseless” and “motivated,” and in retaliation, Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat in exchange for the expulsion of a Canadian official.

Growing Concerns

Canada has been witnessing an increase in activities supporting Khalistani elements in recent months, causing tensions in India-Canada relations. India has expressed dissatisfaction with what it perceives as a lack of action by the Trudeau government to address its genuine concerns.

Conclusion

The suspension of visa services for Canadian citizens by India underscores the deep-rooted tensions between the two nations. While the reasons for this move remain unclear, it reflects the complex dynamics of international relations in an increasingly interconnected world.