The United States and Britain on Friday urged New Delhi not to insist Canada reduce its diplomatic presence in India and expressed concern after Ottawa pulled out 41 diplomats amid a dispute over the murder of a Sikh separatist.
“We are concerned by the departure of Canadian diplomats from India, in response to the Indian government’s demand of Canada to significantly reduce its diplomatic presence in India,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
Washington has said it took Canada’s allegations seriously and, along with London, urged India to cooperate with Canada in the murder probe even as Western powers have been reluctant to openly condemn India.
But Friday’s statements from the US State Department and Britain’s Foreign Office have been the most direct criticism by Washington and London of New Delhi thus far in this case.
“We do not agree with the decisions taken by the Indian government that have resulted in a number of Canadian diplomats departing India,” a spokesperson for Britain’s Foreign Office said.
Canada withdrew 41 diplomats from India after New Delhi last month asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence following Canada’s allegations over Nijjar’s killing. Canada on Friday said it was temporarily suspending in-person operations at consulates in several Indian cities and warned of visa processing delays.