ontario news watch

India defends actions after Ottawa’s alleges precedent-setting diplomatic move

OTTAWA — India is defending its diplomatic actions a day after Ottawa announced it had pulled most of its envoys from the country over what it called a precedent-setting diplomatic threat.  

India’s Ministry of External Affairs says its move to reduce the number of Canadian diplomats in India, who it says outnumber India’s staffing in Canada, was in line with diplomatic convention. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Thursday that Canada had removed most of its diplomatic presence from India after New Delhi threatened to strip diplomatic immunities from them and their families.

She said a unilateral revocation of the special rights and protections is contrary to international law, labelling it a precedent-setting threat. 

Relations with New Delhi have hit a deep freeze since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a month ago that Canadian intelligence services were investigating “a potential link” between India’s government and the killing of a Sikh leader in British Columbia.

India’s statement cited a passage from an international convention on diplomatic relations that says in the absence of agreement, a host country can require a diplomatic mission be kept within reasonable and normal limits. 

“We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms,” the statement read. 

Canada has directed 41 diplomats to leave, along with their 42 dependants, leaving 21 diplomats in India. 

Officials said the move would slow down the processing of immigration applications and Canada has issued a travel advisory for regions of India where it says it’s been forced to reduce consular staffing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press