India on Thursday suspended new visas for Canadians and asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country, sharply escalating a spat triggered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusations linking New Delhi to a Sikh separatist’s murder.
The Indian foreign ministry said Canada has not shared any specific information in connection with the allegations Trudeau made and that New Delhi was willing to look at it if provided.
A blanket suspension of new visas by India for a Western country is unheard of and marks the lowest point of India-Canada relations.
Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Ottawa had been asked to reduce numbers at its diplomatic missions in India to bring parity between the missions of the two countries.
Bagchi said India suspended issuing new visas to Canadian citizens due to “security threats” to its staff in its consulates in Canada.
India has not provided any evidence or given details of the nature of such security threats, and Canada’s public safety minister Dominic LeBlanc said in response on Wednesday that Canada was a safe country.
“You are aware of the security threats being faced by our high commission and consulates in Canada. This has disrupted their normal functioning,” Bagchi told reporters at a weekly briefing on Thursday.