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India wants to remove around 40 Canadian diplomats from the country as the diplomatic row between the two nations over the killing of a Sikh Canadian separatist leader escalates.
According to the Financial Times, Canada has around 62 diplomats in India, and New Delhi wants 41 of them to leave by October 10.
The Indian government has also warned it will revoke diplomatic immunity for those staying in India after the deadline, the report says.
The Hindustan Times corroborated the report, noting that India’s foreign ministry determined how many Canadian diplomats should leave and relayed that figure to Ottawa.
It is unclear if the 41 diplomats India wants out were picked at random or for specific reasons.
Indian officials say the move is an effort to bring “parity in strength and rank equivalence” on diplomatic presence in each other’s country, with one official telling HT that the number of Canadian diplomats in India was “much higher” than the reverse.
What To Watch For
Whether Canada will adhere to New Delhi’s deadline. If New Delhi makes good on its threat to strip diplomatic immunity from Canadian diplomats, it could trigger a bigger international crisis.
Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canada’s parliament that investigators were pursuing “credible allegations” of links between “agents of the government of India” and the killing of Sikh leader and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar was gunned down in Surrey, British Columbia by masked gunmen earlier this year. The Indian-born Sikh activist had been designated a “terrorist” by New Delhi for supporting the separatist Khalistan movement, which calls for the creation of an independent homeland for Sikhs carved from India’s territory. India has vehemently denied involvement in the killing and has dismissed the allegation as “absurd and motivated.” The issue, however, has triggered a major diplomatic impasse between the two countries and has resulted in India banning visa processing for all Canadian citizens.
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