India rejects Canada's reasons for diplomats' withdrawal, asserts parity in diplomatic presencetext_fields
New Delhi: India has strongly refuted Canada's accusations and withdrawal of 41 diplomats, emphasising that no international norms were violated when India sought parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa.
This response came shortly after Canada's decision to recall its diplomats, alleging that India had breached the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In a statement, India's external affairs ministry declared, "We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms." The ministry further explained, "The state of our bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant a parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa."
Canada's Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, had earlier announced the withdrawal of diplomats, citing India's plans to remove diplomatic immunities for a significant number of Canadian diplomats and their dependents.
She expressed concerns about personal safety, stating, "I can confirm that India has formally conveyed its plan to unethically remove diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by tomorrow, October 20. This means 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having immunity stripped on an arbitrary date."
Joly emphasised the importance of diplomatic immunities, which allow diplomats to perform their duties without fear of reprisal or arrest by the host country. She pointed out that these immunities are a fundamental principle of diplomacy, stressing that they only work if all countries adhere to the rules. Joly described India's unilateral revocation of diplomatic privileges and immunities as a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and deemed it unreasonable and escalatory.
As part of its response, Canada also temporarily suspended in-person services at its consulates in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru, advising its citizens in these cities to exercise caution. Canadians in India were urged to contact the High Commission in New Delhi for assistance.
The diplomatic tension between India and Canada escalated when India requested Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's assertion of credible evidence linking Indian agents to the murder of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India has denied any involvement in the shooting incident outside a Sikh temple in June, fueling a contentious diplomatic dispute between the two countries.