Underlining that terrorism as a larger issue is something that should be looked at, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday called it a fact that it is funded and supported by Pakistan and the issue of safe havens, and places to operate have been provided abroad, including in Canada.
“We obviously condemn any threat… but we should look at the larger issue, the larger issue of terrorism. Not only terrorism but also the fact that it is funded and supported and we know this from sometime…from our western neighbours Pakistan…but the issue of safe havens, and places to operate have been provided abroad, including in Canada…and that…you know we would expect that is the main focus. The question is: do we have the political will to address terrorism or do we want to justify it and condone it?” the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi said.
He repeated that New Delhi wants greater actions from Canadian authorities and that all of India’s concerns about Canada are connected to inaction on terrorism and organised crime.
#WATCH | MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi says, “If you’re talking about reputational issues and reputational damage, if there’s any country that needs to look at this, I think it is Canada and its growing reputation as a place, as a safe haven for terrorists, for extremists, and… pic.twitter.com/F2LZGTJ6b9
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2023
India also said that security threats being faced by the country’s High Commission and Consulates in Canada have disrupted their normal functioning and they are temporarily unable to process visa applications.
Bagchi said the issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that “disrupts the functioning of our consulates”.
The remarks came hours after visa services provider BLS International said that it has with immediate effect suspended Indian visa services in Canada.
#WATCH | MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi says, “Safe haven is being provided in Canada, we want the Canadian govt to not do so and take action against those who have terrorism charges or send them here to face justice…We’ve sought either extradition request or assistance… pic.twitter.com/0ikMJFu8M6
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2023
“You are aware of the security threats being faced by our High Commission and Consulates in Canada. This has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our High Commission and Consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications. We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis,” he said.
Answering a query on e-visas, Bagchi said e-visas are also on temporary suspension. “All categories of visas are suspended,” he said.
“Those who have valid visas, OCIs are free to travel to India. The issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that disrupts the functioning of our consulates which is what is making us stop temporarily the issuance of visa services. We will review this situation on a regular basis,” he added.
Bagchi further said that India would expect better steps by the Canadian side on significant concerns about terrorism. He stated, “The relationship I think… quickly I think we would expect better steps by the Canadian authorities on our very significant concerns about terrorism…about the security of our diplomats, Indian community and overall anti-India activities.”
#WATCH | On Visa services in Canada, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi says, “You are aware of the security threats being faced by our High Commission and Consulates in Canada. This has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our High Commission and Consulates are… pic.twitter.com/5nRL8fjeGB
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2023
India had on Wednesday issued an advisory for Indian Nationals and Indian Students in Canada.
It said that in view of growing anti-India activities and “politically-condoned hate crimes” and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution.
“Recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents,” the advisory said.
“Our High Commission/Consulates General will continue to be in contact with the Canadian authorities to ensure the safety and well being of the Indian community in Canada. Given the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students in particular are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant,” it added.
The advisory called upon Indian nationals and students from India in Canada must also register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites, or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in.
It said registration would enable the High Commission and the Consulates General to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any emergency or untoward incident.
Trudeau during a debate in the Canadian Parliament, claimed his country’s national security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of the Canadian citizen, who also served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
Nijjar, the chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a Sikh extremist organisation banned by India and a “designated terrorist”, was killed in a targeted shooting at British Columbia in Canada’s Surrey in June 2018.
India, however, rejected the allegations by the Trudeau administration, terming them “absurd” and “motivated”.
#WATCH | We certainly abide by the rule of law. We have been sharing details of fugitives who have run away and are seeking safe haven in Canada and elsewhere to come back to India and face justice: @MEAIndia
Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi #India #Canada pic.twitter.com/RbvE3apuIM
— DD News (@DDNewslive) September 21, 2023
“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
“Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” the MEA added in its statement.
“Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law,” it added.