India has temporarily suspended visa services in Canada due to "operational reasons" amid an escalating diplomatic standoff between the two countries over the death of a Khalistani terrorist.
A notification on the official website of 'India Visa Application Center Canada' reads, "Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking BLS website for further updates."
The row that first began with Canada expelling a senior Indian diplomat over a possible link between the Indian government and the death of a Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in June in Canada, has so far led to a pause on negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement between the two countries, and India issuing warning advisories to its citizens living in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise "utmost caution" in view of growing anti-India activities and "politically-condoned" hate crimes as well as "criminal violence" in that country.
The latest move of India suspending visa services in Canada until further notice will hurt hundreds of immigrants, students, and workers who annually intend to travel to the North American nation. According to reports, Canada is the second most popular destination for Indian students, especially from Punjab and Haryana.
According to data released by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada welcomed a record 2,26,450 Indian students in 2022. India was in fact one of the top 10 source countries for international students as of December 31, 2022.