Canada has issued a travel advisory for its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in and around cities of Bengaluru, Chandigarh, and Mumbai.
Canada Updates Travel Advisory for its Citizens
Canada recently updated the travel advisory for its citizens in India urging them to “exercise a high degree of caution”. This advisory was issued just hours after the country withdrew 41 diplomats and proceeded to close most of its embassies and consulates in India.
The move came amid the bitter row between the two countries over the alleged involvement of the Indian Intelligence in killing a Khalistani terrorist on Canadian soil. The travel advisory read that its citizens should exercise a high degree of caution in India due to the threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country.
The advisory also added that in the context of recent developments in Canada and India, there have been calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada in mainstream media and on social media. It stated that demonstrations, including anti-Canada protests could occur, and Canadians may be subjected to intimidation or harassment. It suggested that in Delhi and the National Capital Region, they should keep a low profile with strangers, and not share their personal information with them.
Canada withdraws its diplomats from India
Earlier today, Canada withdrew in total 41 diplomats and their families from India after the Centre had threatened to strip them of their diplomatic immunity.
Canada has also paused all in-person services at the consulates located in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru and has asked its citizens in these three cities to exercise caution. All Canadian citizens in India have been requested to contact the High Commission in New Delhi in case they are in need of any assistance.
The advisory stated that all Canadian citizens should exercise a high degree of caution in and around Bengaluru, Chandigarh, and Mumbai and consular services in-person are temporarily unavailable in these cities or surrounding areas.
The advisory read that petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common and criminals may target foreigners, particularly in major cities and tourist areas and thus it urged citizens to be watchful and attentive in crowded locations and not carry large sums of money.
India’s Response to the Allegations
Relations between India and Canada have plunged and turned bitter since the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month publicly linked and accused the Indian intelligence to the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
In retaliation, India has called the allegations blatantly absurd and motivated. The diplomatic row has threatened to snowball into a major confrontation and it is walking on a tightrope as both sides have expelled senior diplomats and issued travel advisory to its citizens.
Last month, India had advised all its citizens living in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise utmost caution given growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned and encouraged hate crimes in the North American country.
India has also slammed Canada for the reasons for the diplomats’ withdrawal. The centre today said that contrary to Canada’s allegations, no international norms were violated in India wishing to seek parity in the mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa.
This statement was released just hours after Canada withdrew 41 diplomats and also accused India of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The external affairs ministry also released a statement saying that they reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of any international norms.
It also added that the state of their bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in India’s internal affairs warrant implementing a parity in the mutual diplomatic presence in both New Delhi and Ottawa.