In an escalating diplomatic strain between India and Canada, the Indian government issued a travel advisory urging its nationals and students in Canada to remain vigilant. This warning stems from what India labels as “increasing anti-India activities” and instances of “politically-endorsed hate crimes” on Canadian soil.
The recent diplomatic conflict stems from the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist activist, in Surrey, BC back in June. Nijjar, who held the president’s post at a Sikh temple, was targetted by two masked individuals in the temple’s parking lot, leading to his death. As of now, BC’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team continues to probe into the case.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then made allegations that the Indian government was behind the assassination, which was categorically dismissed by New Delhi and described as “absurd and motivated.” Further, India has vehemently denied any role in Nijjar’s demise, a stance conflicting with Trudeau’s assertion of the claims being credible. Instead, India has accused Canada of trying to divert attention from the Sikh independence or Khalistan movement; Although India bans this movement, it has found considerable traction among the Sikh diaspora in Canada.
The situation escalated when India highlighted hate crimes and cited specific threats targeting Indian diplomats and segments of the Indian community opposing the “anti-India agenda.” In light of this, the Indian government strongly advised its citizens and students in Canada to register with diplomatic offices in major Canadian cities like Ottawa, Toronto, or Vancouver, preparing for potential emergencies or unforeseen incidents.
However, Canada’s stance on travel advisories seems to remain constant. Although Global Affairs Canada made recent updates to its Travel Advice and Advisories (TAA) for India, it was later clarified that the update was not a consequence of the tensions around Nijjar’s killing. Instead, the advisory, which has been in existence for a while, warns Canadians of potential terrorist threats in India, specifically advising against non-essential travel to Assam and Manipur due to terrorism concerns and an absolute travel restriction to Jammu and Kashmir, citing unpredictable security conditions.
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