The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited India earlier this month to attend the G20 Summit 2023, wherein some unpleasant discussions took place between the Indian and Canadian Prime Ministers regarding the ‘Khalistani issue; during their meeting in New Delhi. Since then there have been cracks in India Canada relations. As of 21st September 2023, the Canada Travel advisory advises Indians to exercise ‘utmost caution’ while visiting or staying in Canada. Let’s have a look at the timeline of the events that have led the Indian government to issue this Canada travel advisory for Indians. 

18th June 2023 

Hardeep Singh Nijjar is fatally shot at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Surrey, B.C. He was a Canadian citizen and Sikh separatism activist.

18th September 2023

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Canada PM Justin Trudeau delivers a statement in the House of Commons in Ottawa
Image Credit: Mint

Addressing the Parliament, the Canadian Prime Minister made a statement on a matter of national security that Ottawa had credible intelligence “agents of the government of India” have a “potential link” to this shooting. He also added, “The government of India needs to take this matter with utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” Mint

Following up with the Canadian Government’s claim, Canada’s foreign ministry expelled a senior Indian diplomat. Reacting to this action, even India decided to send back home a top Canadian government official. 

India has strongly rejected Mr. Trudeau’s statement made in the Canadian Parliament and said “allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated”. This has further agitated the Indian Canada tensions, putting a strain on the diplomatic relations between both countries. 

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Image Credit: Hindustan Times/ AP

Taking into consideration the growing tensions between India Canada relations, the Canadian government issued a travel advisory for its citizens in India. They advised travellers to exercise a ‘high degree of caution’ while in India due to the ‘threat of terrorist attacks’. 

In retaliation, even the Indian government has released a Canada Travel Advisory for those travelling to Canada, students studying in Canada as well as the Indian Diaspora there. The advisory 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”. The advisory also shows concerns about threats against members of the Indian community who ‘oppose the anti-India agenda’.

All this chaos has given rise to the question – Is Canada safe to travel for Indians? 

21st September 2023

Refuting the claims from India, Canada marks itself ‘safe country’ with a statement by Canadian public safety minister Dominic Leblanc. 

Later on the same day, India is seen suspending visa services for Canadian nationals until further notice. However, this wasn’t declared with some formal announcement. A message stated on the BLS International website, which runs the visa application centres in Canada says,  “Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21st September 2023 [Thursday], Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice.” While the words display operational reasons, an Indian official said “The language is clear and it says what it is intended to say.” 

Canada Travel Advisory
BLS International Visa Page
Image Credit: BLSIndia

The India Canada tensions are no more a bilateral schism, but now it is garnering attention worldwide. Representatives have urged the Indian government to take due conscience before the situation escalates further. Follow the news for any further Canada travel restrictions update. 

However, it is still possible to apply for a Canada Visa for Indians. Planning a trip to Canada for any possible reasons would be risky. But once the situation is under control, visit Canada with our all-inclusive Canada Tour Packages. Don’t forget to save some money with cheap flight bookings from India to Canada and advance hotel bookings in Canada.

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