By October 10th, India has instructed Canada to return 41 diplomats, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Relationships between India and Canada have taken a significant hit as a result of Canadian suspicions that Indian government operatives were involved in the death of Canadian citizen and leader of the Sikh separatist movement, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in June in Canada. India had designated Nijjar as a “terrorist” in India.
The accusation has been rejected by India as ludicrous.
According to the Financial Times, which cited sources familiar with India’s demand, India threatened to strip the diplomatic immunity of any diplomats who refused to leave after October 10.
India had requested a reduction of 41 of Canada’s 62 diplomats, according to the publication.
The presence of Sikh separatist organisations in Canada has irked New Delhi, and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had said that there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian officials there.
In the past, India has stated that it seeks “parity” in the number and calibre of diplomats that each country posts to the other.
Due to the substantial consular section required for the families of the roughly 1.3 million Canadians who claim Indian ancestry, Canada has several dozen more diplomats at its high commission in New Delhi than does India at its embassy in Ottawa.