India said it cut Canada’s diplomatic presence in the country due to concerns about interference in its affairs, as ties between the two sides continue to deteriorate.
(Bloomberg) — India said it cut Canada’s diplomatic presence in the country due to concerns about interference in its affairs, as ties between the two sides continue to deteriorate.
“The relationship right now is going through a difficult phase,” India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said during a panel discussion in New Delhi on Sunday.
Last week, Canada relocated 41 staff members from its embassy and consulates in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government threatened to revoke their immunity. The administration of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the action “unreasonable and escalatory” and a violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.
READ: Trudeau Says Many Countries Worried After India Ousts Envoys
The diplomatic row is the latest escalation since Trudeau accused India’s government of helping to orchestrate the killing of a Sikh separatist activist on Canadian soil. New Delhi has denied the allegations and implemented several measures including a suspension of visas for Canadians.
India said last week it wanted the two countries to have “parity” in diplomatic presence and had been in talks with Canada over the past month about how to implement this. It added its actions were consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna convention, which states that a country can limit a foreign mission if there’s no specific agreement on its size.
“Parity is very much provided for by the Vienna Convention, which is the relevant international rule on this,” Jaishankar said Sunday. “We invoked parity because we had concerns about continuous interference in our affairs by Canadian personnel.”
He added India would resume issuing visas in Canada if it sees progress in the safety of its diplomats there.
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