Canada updates travel advisory for India amidst growing tensions

In the wake of a recent deterioration in Canada-India relations, Canada has revised its travel advisory for India, highlighting concerns over protests and “negative sentiments” towards Canadian travelers. Global Affairs Canada has issued a call for heightened caution among travelers visiting India, citing the evolving situation in both countries as a basis for their cautionary approach.

Warnings of protests and negative sentiments: The updated travel advisory cautions travelers about the potential for protests and “negative sentiments” directed towards Canadians in India. It underscores the impact of recent developments in both nations, which have given rise to calls for demonstrations and expressions of discontent on social media platforms. Travelers are advised to maintain vigilance and exercise caution during their stay.

Tracing back to a tragic killing: The strain in Canada-India relations traces back to the tragic killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C., a Vancouver suburb with a significant Sikh population. 

Trudeau’s allegations and diplomatic fallout: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations concerning India’s involvement in Nijjar’s killing intensified tensions. Trudeau initially called for India’s cooperation in the investigation, later citing “credible allegations” implicating the Indian government in the murder. In response to Canada’s stance, India expelled a Canadian diplomat, labeling the allegations absurd and retaliating with the expulsion of a Canadian representative.

Reciprocal actions and visa halts: The diplomatic rift escalated further as India suspended all visa services for Canadian citizens. Concurrently, India issued a cautionary advisory to its citizens in Canada, highlighting concerns about “growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” within Canada.

A call for extreme caution: Given the evolving security environment, particularly the reported increase in anti-India activities, Indian students residing in Canada have been specifically urged to exercise extreme caution and maintain a high vigilance, according to the travel advisory.

Sikh activists’ protests: Meanwhile, Sikh activists are mobilizing the diaspora in Canada to gather in protest outside Indian embassies and consulates. Organizations like Sikhs for Justice are leading in organizing demonstrations in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. They aim to raise public awareness about the tragic killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and advocate for justice in his case.

As tensions between Canada and India persist, both nations closely monitor the situation, while travelers to India are encouraged to remain cautious in light of the ongoing developments.

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