Toronto: Canada has evacuated a majority of its diplomats working in India outside of New Delhi to either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore after it gave Ottawa an October 10 deadline to reduce its diplomatic staff to achieve parity in strength following a row over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, according to a media report on Friday.
The report in CTV News, a privately owned Canadian television network, came after India earlier this week asked Canada to withdraw several dozen diplomats from its missions amid the escalating diplomatic row that erupted following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation linking Indian agents to the killing of Khalistani separatist Nijjar in June.
India rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case.
The Indian government has given Ottawa until October 10 to reduce Canadian diplomatic staff in that country to a level on par with the number of Indian diplomats in Canada, CTV News quoted sources as saying.
Earlier reports pegged the number of diplomats that would have to leave at 41, but the sources CTV News spoke with said the ask is specific to one of parity.
“A majority of the Canadian diplomats working in India outside of Delhi have been evacuated to either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore,” the report said.
Global Affairs Canada, the department that manages the country’s diplomatic and consular relations, had previously stated that “with some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms,” it was “assessing its staff complement in India.” “As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India,” the department said, just days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being involved in the murder.