Hardeep Singh Nijjar row: Canada withdraws 41 diplomats from India

Canada has withdrawn 41 diplomats from India as the relationship between Ottawa and New Delhi continued to remain tense over the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Canada withdraws 41 diplomats from India. Photo Courtesy: PIB

Country's Foreign Minister Melanie Joly was quoted as saying by The Canadian Press that New Delhi had threatened to remove immunities starting on Friday, referring to the special rights and protections provided to diplomats while they are posted to other countries.

Canada has directed 41 of its diplomats, along with their 42 dependants, to leave India, media reports said.

Currently, only 21 Canadian diplomats remain in India.

“A unilateral revocation of diplomatic privilege and immunities is contrary to international law,” Joly told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa as quoted by The Canadian Press.

“It is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, and threatening to do so is unreasonable and escalatory," she said.

The Canadian minister said its high commission in New Delhi remained operational but paused in-person services at consulates in  Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Why India-Canada diplomatic ties soured

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on September 18 alleged the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in British Columbia on June 18. India dismissed the allegation, calling it “absurd” and “motivated.”

In 2020, India designated Nijjar as a terrorist.