India Issues Travel Advisory for Citizens in Canada Amidst Diplomatic Rift

India Issues Travel Advisory for Citizens in Canada

India Warns Citizens to Exercise Caution in Canada Amid Diplomatic Rift

India has issued a warning to its citizens traveling to Canada, advising them to exercise utmost caution. This comes as a result of escalating tensions between the two countries after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly accused India of orchestrating the murder of a Sikh separatist in Canada.

Investigation into Allegations

The Canadian government is currently investigating credible allegations that Indian government agents may be involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and advocate for an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan. India has strongly denied these claims, calling them baseless and absurd and accusing Canadian leaders of supporting anti-India causes.

Travel Advisory

In response to the growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes in Canada, India’s Ministry of External Affairs has urged Indian nationals to exercise caution. The ministry has particularly highlighted threats targeting Indian diplomats and members of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. Indian nationals are advised to avoid traveling to regions and venues in Canada that have experienced such incidents.

Potential Impact on US-India Relations

Given Canada’s close relationship with the United States, this escalating bilateral crisis could have implications for the US courtship of India as a strategic partner. The US has been working towards forming a broader Indo-Pacific alliance aimed at reducing reliance on China by realigning supply chains and restricting Chinese access to strategic technology.

Sikh Separatism

Canada halted trade talks with India prior to the recent G20 leaders’ summit in Delhi, where Prime Minister Trudeau discussed the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both countries have expelled senior diplomats in response to Trudeau’s announcement.

Sikh separatism is a sensitive topic for India, as it had a history of violent insurgency in the 1970s and 1980s when Sikhs demanded an independent Sikh homeland in Punjab. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress Party have both emphasized the need for an uncompromising fight against terrorism in India.

The Murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist, was allegedly organizing an unofficial referendum among the Sikh diaspora with the organization Sikhs For Justice. He was killed on June 18 by two masked gunmen in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia. India had previously labeled him a terrorist, accusing him of plotting multiple targeted murders. Nijjar had settled in Vancouver and ran a plumbing business after migrating from India in the 1990s.

Canada’s View on Sikh Activism

Canada considers peaceful Sikh activism as a form of free expression, while India sees it as an endorsement of Sikh separatism, which it considers an infringement on its domestic affairs. Canada is home to the largest Sikh diaspora outside of Punjab, India.

As a result of the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students, in particular, are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant, according to India’s foreign ministry.