Amid controversy after the murder of a Sikh activist in Canada, the country’s government has removed 41 of its diplomats from India. Canada announced it would not retaliate in the matter.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly recently announced that the Great White North has recalled 41 of its 62 diplomats from India.
“Forty-one Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having their immunity stripped on an arbitrary date and this would put their personal safety at risk,” Joly said, as reported by One America News (OAN). “Our diplomats and their families have now left.”
“A unilateral revocation of the diplomatic privilege and immunity is contrary to international law and a clear violation of the Geneva Convention on diplomatic relations. Threatening to do so is unreasonable and escalatory,” Joly added.
“Because this is so unprecedented and would put so many countries’ different diplomats around the world in danger, we decided not to reciprocate,” she continued.
Joly also revealed that Canada will have to pause in-person diplomatic services in all offices in India except for one in New Delhi because of reduced staff complement, according to CBC News. Among the offices in which services will be suspended include those in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bangalore.
New Delhi set Oct. 10, 2023, as the deadline for Canada to withdraw its diplomats. Should Canada refuse to do so, the diplomats would have been stripped of their diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution.
Canada was shocked to see India’s government demand the extradition of its diplomats, considering that it represented a stark shift from past expulsions.
“I can’t think of another instance … short of breaking diplomatic relations with another country and taking everybody out,” former Canadian diplomat Gar Pardy said.
“I can’t think of another incident over the last 40 or 50 years where something like this has happened. Even in our worst days of our relationship with the Soviet Union, usually there were smaller numbers are involved,” Pardy added.
Such a decision comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” that India played a role in the murder of Nijjar, a Sikh leader who was killed by masked gunmen in Surrey, Canada, in June 2023.
After Justin Trudeau blew-up Canada’s political relations with India, 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were forced to flee India today.
What political disaster will Trudeau trigger next? pic.twitter.com/OnC80wZfzB
— Paul Mitchell (@PaulMitchell_AB) October 19, 2023
India had repeatedly claimed, prior to his assassination, that Nijjar had close ties to terrorist groups.