India ups the ante: Visa curbs, travel advisory right moves - The Tribune India

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India ups the ante

Visa curbs, travel advisory right moves

India ups the ante

AMID a diplomatic confrontation with Canada over the killing of pro-Khalistan terror accused Hardeep Singh Nijjar, India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens, citing a security threat to the staff in its consulates. The decision comes close on the heels of an advisory issued by India for its citizens living in Canada or those planning to travel to that country. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has urged them to exercise ‘utmost caution’ in view of the ‘growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada’. Indian students, in particular, have been advised to remain vigilant, considering ‘the deteriorating security environment’ in Canada. The Justin Trudeau government has rejected the travel advisory, claiming that Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. However, Ottawa’s reassurance seems to be woefully divorced from reality.

With Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a designated terrorist and the chief of the banned pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice, brazenly threatening Indo-Canadian Hindus and telling them to go back to India, the Maple Country is certainly not safe for people of Indian origin. Chandra Arya, an Indo-Canadian lawmaker from PM Trudeau’s party, has rightly slammed the glorification of terrorism and hate crime targeting Hindus in that country in the name of ‘freedom of expression’. He has hit the nail on the head by accusing Pannun of trying to create a rift between the Hindu and Sikh communities in Canada.

Even as the MEA has described Trudeau’s allegations as politically motivated, the onus is on Canada to share details of the Nijjar case probe with India. At the same time, Ottawa must go the extra mile to allay the fears of the Indian diaspora and crack down on the troublemakers, be it Khalistani activists or gangsters. Since Indians account for the lion’s share of international students in Canada, the latter would be well advised to prioritise their safety. 


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