Forty-one Canadian diplomats have left India as a result of the dispute between the countries over the murder of a Sikh activist, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said.
(Bloomberg) — Forty-one Canadian diplomats have left India as a result of the dispute between the countries over the murder of a Sikh activist, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said.
Canada sent the staff home from its embassies and consulates in the country, leaving only 21 behind, Joly said Thursday in Ottawa. It’s the latest development in a diplomatic row that kicked off last month when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India’s government of orchestrating the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver.
Joly said India’s government formally conveyed its plans to remove diplomatic immunity for the envoys. That left Canada with no choice but to arrange their departure, along with that of their families, she said.
“Threatening to do that is not only unreasonable, but escalatory,” Joly said, adding that Canada would not respond in kind because removing immunity in such circumstances is a violation of international law.
India had requested that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence at its embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Bangalore, Chandigarh and Mumbai.
Joly said earlier this month that Canada was still in discussions with India about its official staff in the country, and that in moments of tension, having diplomats on the ground was more important than ever.
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