India resumes e-Visa facility for all eligible Canadian citizens

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OTTAWA: India has resumed electronic visa services for eligible Canadian citizens, the High Commission of India in Canada announced on Wednesday.

The notification released by the Indian High Commission in Canada reads, “Indian eVisa facility has been restored w.e.f. 22 November 2023, for all eligible Canadian citizens holding Regular/Ordinary Canadian passports.”

“Holder of any other category of Canadian passport will need to apply for regular paper visa, in accordance with the existing modalities – details may be found on the respective websites of the High Commission of India, Ottawa; Consulate General of India, Toronto and Consulate General of India, Vancouver,” it added.

The move to restore e-visa services comes amid a diplomatic row between India and Canada. Earlier in September, the Indian Mission in Canada suspended visa services until further notice, citing operational reasons, according to BLS International. BLS International Services Limited is an Indian outsourcing service provider for government and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages visa, passport, consular, attestation and citizen services. “Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from September 21, 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking the BLS website for further updates,” the BLS website said.

However, in October, India decided to resume visa services in Canada for four categories after a considered review of the security situation, which “takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard”. Entry visa, business visa, medical visa and conference visa were four categories in which India decided to resume visa services in Canada with effect from October 26.

Notably, the ties between India and Canada have been strained after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil earlier this year. Nijjar was shot dead outside Gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey on June 18.

India had rejected the allegations and called them “absurd and motivated.” Notably, Canada has not been able to present any evidence to back its claims over the killing, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar requested Canada to give evidence to support the claims. During a conversation with journalist Lionel Barber, Jaishankar emphasised the importance of credible evidence. When asked if there was any evidence of the Indian government’s involvement in the killing, the EAM categorically stated, “None.”

Speaking about Trudeau’s allegations, Jaishankar revealed that he has discussed the matter with his Canadian counterpart, Melanie Joly, urging the Canadian government to share any evidence they may have. He highlighted India’s willingness to consider an investigation but emphasised that no evidence has been provided thus far.

“Now, in the case of Mr Trudeau, I have discussed it also with my own counterpart. And we have told them, look, if you have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us. We are not ruling out an investigation and looking at anything which they may have to offer. They haven’t done so,” Jaishankar said. (ANI)

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