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Canada Dismisses Indian Diplomatic Staff Amidst Allegations of Assassination Plans

Canada and India’s diplomatic ties have further soured as Canada has expelled numerous Indian staffers from its diplomatic missions in India, citing concerns over alleged Indian plans to assassinate pro-Khalistani Sikhs on Canadian soil.

The deterioration in relations between the two countries began last year when tens of thousands of Canadian Sikhs participated in the Khalistan Referendum in response to the call from Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), led by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a dual Canadian and US national.

Tensions escalated dramatically after the assassination of SFJ and Khalistan Referendum’s Canada coordinator, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in June 2023, followed by an attempted attack on Pannun in New York.

A spokesperson for the Canadian High Commission emphasized that the reduction in Indian employees was necessary due to a shrinking Canadian workforce, while expressing gratitude for the dedication of local staff in India.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of being behind Nijjar’s assassination, leading India to expel 41 Canadian ambassadorial staff members. Trudeau reiterated his government’s commitment to defending Canadians’ rights and freedoms.

Canada closed its consulates in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru for in-person operations

In response to India’s expulsion of Canadian diplomats last year, Canada closed its consulates in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru for in-person operations, a move that surprised India as it had intended to achieve diplomatic parity only at the respective high commissions in Delhi and Ottawa.

The SFJ called on Prime Minister Trudeau to expel India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Verma, after Trudeau confirmed India’s involvement in Nijjar’s assassination.

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