Justin Trudeau – the Prime Minister of Canada – has said that the Indian government’s crackdown on Canadian diplomats was making normal life difficult for millions of people in both countries.
According to the media reports, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke a day after Canada announced the withdrawal of 41 diplomats in response to an Indian threat to remove their status unilaterally. New Delhi is enraged that Trudeau implied last month that Indian spies were involved in the June assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada. India disputes the charge.
The Indian government is making it extremely difficult for millions of people in India and Canada to go about their daily lives. And they’re doing it by breaking a fundamental premise of diplomacy, Trudeau said and expressed concern for the well-being and happiness of millions of Canadians who trace their ancestry to the Indian subcontinent.
Trudeau stated that the expulsion of some of Canada’s diplomats would impede travel and trade and make it difficult for Indian students to study in Canada. Around two million Canadians, or 5% of the total population, are of Indian descent. India is by far Canada’s greatest source of international students, accounting for nearly 40% of study permit holders. The Indian foreign ministry had denied violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The statement added, “The condition of our bilateral relations, the significantly larger number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their ongoing intervention in our internal affairs demand a parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa.” Canada currently maintains 21 diplomats in India. The US State Department backed Canada in the diplomatic controversy on Friday. Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the ministry, said “We advised the Indian government not to demand a reduction in Canada’s diplomatic presence and to cooperate with the ongoing Canadian probe.”