New Delhi, October 26, 2023 (TDI):   In a significant development in the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada, India has announced the resumption of visa services for select categories of Canadian citizens.

The decision, announced by the Indian High Commission in Canada, marks a crucial step toward normalizing relations between the two nations following a month-long suspension of visa services.

The move is set to benefit Canadians traveling for business, medical purposes, and conferences, offering much-needed relief for individuals and families who had been affected by the suspension.

The visa issuance, which was put on hold due to allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of a Canadian Sikh activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, is set to address the needs of Canadians seeking entry for specific purposes, excluding tourism, which remains temporarily suspended.

Read More: Diplomatic tensions on the rise between Canada & India

On October 25, India officially resumed visa services, providing a ray of hope for Canadian citizens. This positive development came a week after 41 Canadian diplomats left India in response to New Delhi’s demands aimed at maintaining diplomatic parity.

The Indian High Commission in Canada announced it would begin accepting visa applications for entry, business, medical, and conference purposes.

What’s worth noting is that Canadian citizens in these categories can apply for visas from Canada and at Indian missions in other countries, whose services were also temporarily suspended on September 21.

A press release issued by the Indian High Commission in Ottawa stated, “After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard, it has been decided to resume visa services for [certain] categories.”

The release also noted that emergency situations would continue to be addressed by the mission, and further decisions would be based on a continuous evaluation of the situation.

The suspension of visas had impacted numerous Canadians hoping to travel to India, including those with family ties in India looking to reunite during the festive season and medical cases requiring treatment in India. This decision offers a glimmer of hope for them and a chance to proceed with their plans.

However, it remains uncertain whether Canada will reciprocate the resumption of visa services.

After the expulsion of Canadian diplomats from the High Commission in Delhi, Canada had also suspended “in-person” visa services at its consulates in other cities.

The fate of these services in Canada is yet to be determined following India’s decision to resume visa issuance.

The diplomatic standoff between India and Canada was thrust into the international spotlight after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations on September 18, 2023, suggesting that Indian government agents were responsible for the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in June.

India vehemently denied these allegations, leading to the suspension of visas for Canadians and the demand for the departure of Canadian diplomats.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar hinted that the resumption of visas for Canadians would happen “very soon.”

The decision is rooted in India’s concerns over the security of its diplomats following threats from separatist Khalistani groups in recent weeks. Indian authorities consider this period to be a “difficult phase” in bilateral ties.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) refrained from commenting on the specific reasons behind the reversal of their decision.

However, it is understood that, in response to India’s heightened concerns and the naming of Indian diplomats in posters and videos circulated by certain groups in Canada, the Canadian government increased security measures around Indian missions and the diplomats involved.

This latest development paves the way for a potential improvement in diplomatic relations between India and Canada and brings hope to individuals and businesses looking to reconnect and rebuild ties between the two nations. Further details and updates will follow as the situation unfolds.

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