India made the unexpected decision to suspend its visa services in Canada on Thursday, citing "operational reasons" as the driving force behind this move. The development comes at a time when tensions have been escalating between the two nations due to the controversial killing of Khalistani militant, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
In a notification posted on the visa application portal BLS, it was conveyed, "Effective as of September 21, 2023, Indian visa services have been temporarily suspended until further notice due to operational considerations. We encourage applicants to regularly visit the BLS website for updates on this matter."
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, known for his advocacy of Sikh independence, met a tragic end two months prior, and his death has since become a contentious issue straining the relations between India and Canada. While Sikh organizations have hailed Nijjar as a human rights activist, the Indian government has labeled him a criminal.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the matter, stating on Monday that his government was actively investigating "credible allegations" suggesting the possible involvement of Indian government agents in Nijjar's fatal shooting, which occurred on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
India, however, vehemently denies any connection to the killing, dismissing the allegations as utterly absurd. This incident has further complicated the already intricate web of relations between the two nations, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the future diplomatic ties between India and Canada.