India issues advisory for citizens in Canada, asks them to contact high commission
The MEA advisory has urged Indian students in particular to exercise 'extreme caution and remain vigilant'
The ministry of external affairs issued an advisory on Wednesday for Indian nationals and students in Canada, instructing them to exercise utmost caution. This comes amidst strained ties between Canada and India over the murder of a reported Sikh separatist leader in Canada.
The MEA communiqué states, “In view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution. Recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents.”
It stated that the advisory comes at a time when threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. “Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents,” said the advisory.
The advisory also said the high commission will continue to be in contact with Canadian authorities, and asked Indian nationals and students in Canada to register with the high commission of India in Ottawa or the consulates-general of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites so as to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any emergency or untoward incident.
The ministry advisory highlighted, “Given the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students in particular are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.”
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed $4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021. The Global Trade Research Initiative has said that there are over 3,19,000 Indian students enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada.
The deterioration of ties came after Canada accused India of having a hand in the assassination of Canadian citizen and Sikh Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. Nijjar was shot dead on 18 June by two masked gunmen in the car park of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, a city about 30 km east of Vancouver.
India has in the past described Nijjar as a "terrorist" who led a militant separatist group, but his supporters say these accusations are unfounded.
Canada expelled Indian diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai over the incident. In a tit-for-tat action, India too expelled a senior Canadian diplomat, ramping up the confrontation between the two countries.