Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister of India stated on Sunday, October 22, 2023, that the reason for the Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA ) to invoke and call for parity in regards to Canadian diplomatic presence in India was due to concerns of “continuous interference” in national affairs by Canadian officials.
“A difficult phase” :
Referring to the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar claimed that it was a “difficult phase” for the relationship between the two nations.
Earlier, the Canadian government had announced that Ottawa had called back 41 diplomats and their dependents. The Canadian diplomats had been called back because the Indian Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA ) had sought “parity” in regards to the Canadian diplomatic presence in India by seeking to decrease the size of the mission stationed in the country from 62 to 21. The withdrawal of the Canadian diplomats came just a day before the deadline set by New Delhi, failing which, the foreign officials were liable to lose their diplomatic immunity.
Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, expressed his disapproval of the move by claiming that India’s actions were a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention. Trudeau further claimed that the move by the Indian Government was making the lives of millions of people difficult in both countries.
The statement by S. Jaishankar :
Responding to the Canadian allegation that India has violated international norms and conventions, Jaishankar stated that parity is certainly “very much provided for by the Vienna Convention”, which is the relevant international convention in this matter. He also added that in India’s case, parity was invoked because there were concerns about “continuous interference” by Canadian personnel in the country’s national affairs. The External Affairs Minister also rejected the allegation and idea that India had violated the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
He also commented on the major concern that several people have regarding visas because a few weeks ago, India had stopped issuing visas to the people in Canada due to escalating tensions in the diplomatic row between the two nations. Jaishankar claimed that the “safety and security” of the Indian diplomats was the primary reason due to which the issuing of visas was temporarily stopped. He claimed that the whole situation was being tracked closely and that if there is improvement and progress in the situation, then India would very much like to resume the issuance of visas in Canada again.