The Indian embassy in Ottawa has declared that it will resume offering visa services to Canadians, potentially easing tensions in a contentious conflict surrounding the death of a Sikh separatist on Canadian territory.
The relationship between India and Canada deteriorated when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Indian intelligence of being involved in the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Indian government dismissed these allegations as baseless.
Nijjar, who supported the creation of a distinct Sikh nation within India, was being sought by Indian officials for suspected involvement in acts of terrorism and plotting of murder.
Canada has requested for India’s collaboration in the inquiry of his demise and removed an Indian envoy due to the situation.
The city of New Delhi showed strong disapproval and responded by implementing retaliatory actions, such as suspending visa services for Canadians.
The Indian high commission announced on Wednesday that they have carefully reviewed the security situation and considered recent measures taken by Canada. As a result, they have decided to resume visa services.
Last week, Canada declared that it removed 41 diplomats from India due to an ongoing dispute.
New Delhi was on the verge of removing diplomatic protection for nearly all Canadian diplomats and their families, resulting in Ottawa having to withdraw the remaining individuals.
The Indian government also cautioned its citizens against traveling to certain areas of Canada due to a rise in anti-Indian actions.
In June, Nijjar was fatally shot by two unknown attackers while in the parking lot of a Sikh temple near Vancouver. Nijjar had immigrated to Canada in 1997 and obtained Canadian citizenship in 2015.
Canada has a population of approximately 770,000 Sikhs, accounting for roughly 2% of the total population. There is a vocal group within this community advocating for the establishment of a separate state known as Khalistan.
The campaign for Sikh separatism has mostly come to an end in India, as the government utilized lethal measures to suppress an uprising in Punjab during the 1980s.
Last month, numerous Sikh demonstrators gathered outside Indian diplomatic offices in Canada, setting fire to flags and disrespecting images of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi.