On September 19, 2023, heavy security measures were deployed at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi, India.

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Canada has withdrawn 41 diplomats and their families from India after New Delhi threatened to remove their diplomatic immunity if Ottawa did not meet demands for parity in diplomatic staffing.

“Canada confirms that India has formally communicated its plan to unilaterally waive the immunity of all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in New Delhi by October 20, 2023,” Canada’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Canada’s compliance effectively reduced the number of diplomats in India by about two-thirds. As a result, Canada must temporarily suspend in-person services at consulates in Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai, leaving its high commission in New Delhi the only place in India where it can offer services in a country that has been its largest source of new migrants .

Tensions between the two countries escalated in September when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed there were “credible allegations” that the Indian government had orchestrated the extrajudicial killing of a Sikh separatist in Canada.

India reiterated its position.

“The state of our bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant an equal reciprocal diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Diplomatic norms

After mutual diplomatic expulsions last month, India issued a travel warning for its citizens, suspended visa applications in Canada and called for parity in diplomatic staffing, meaning Ottawa had to cut the number of staff in India.

“Unilateral revocation of diplomatic privileges and immunities violates international law, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This action taken by India is completely unreasonable and escalatory,” the Canadian Foreign Ministry said.

“Diplomatic immunities should be respected and cannot be unilaterally revoked by a host country. If we allow this norm to be broken, no diplomat would be safe anywhere,” Canada added.

“Therefore, the Government of Canada will continue to respect diplomatic norms and will not reciprocate this action.”

However, the Indian government denied this claim.

India’s actions are “entirely consistent” with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which provides that the receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits deemed “appropriate” unless there is a specific agreement on The size of the mission was taken, it was said.

“We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms,” the Indian government added.

Source : www.cnbc.com

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