India Restores Electronic Visa for Canadians Amid Diplomatic Spat

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India Restores Electronic Visa for Canadians Amid Diplomatic Spat 2

India has reinstated electronic visa services for Canadian citizens, a move that could potentially ease recent tensions between the two nations. This development comes two months after allegations by Canada of Indian involvement in the assassination of a Sikh separatist in Canada, which India had categorically denied as “absurd.”

The restoration of the electronic visa was confirmed on Wednesday by an official from the Indian foreign ministry, who spoke to The Associated Press under the condition of anonymity. The decision follows a period of heightened diplomatic discord that saw both countries exchanging accusations and expelling diplomats, with India imposing a visa ban on Canadian nationals.

The controversy escalated in September when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed there were “credible allegations” of India’s involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh activist and Canadian citizen, in Surrey, near Vancouver. Nijjar, a 45-year-old plumber, was shot dead by masked gunmen in June.

India had long maintained that Nijjar, who was born in India and later became a Canadian citizen, had ties to terrorist activities, a charge he consistently denied. The Indian government sharply rebuked Canada’s allegations regarding its supposed role in Nijjar’s assassination.

Tensions between India and Canada have periodically flared over concerns about Sikh separatist groups. Despite these challenges, both nations have managed to maintain robust defense and trade relationships. India’s accusations against Canada for allegedly sheltering separatists and “terrorists” have been a recurring source of strain in their bilateral relations.

The reinstatement of the electronic visa service by India marks a significant step towards normalizing diplomatic relations, potentially paving the way for further dialogue and cooperation between the two countries.

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