Canada issued Indian nationals visas but temporarily suspended visa and in-person consular services, making them available only at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.
India’s partial restoration of visa services for Canadians offers hope amid the brewing impasse between the two friendly nations. A month ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused “agents of the Indian government” of killing Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, threatening unprecedented bilateral hostility. India quickly suspended visa services for Canadians, halting travel between the two countries. Canadian tourists, business travelers, and former Indians were confused. Local Canadian staff were barred from visiting India by several companies.
- Advertisement -
Canada did not stop providing visas to Indians, but it suspended visa and in-person consular services in three Indian locations, making them available only at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi. Tourists and pilgrims from Canada are still affected. Most Canadians without visas cannot travel. India received 2.8 lakh tourists last year. Apart from Indian merchants and traders, Indian students in Canada crossed their fingers for over a month as the diplomatic row worsened in September. Canada offers better career possibilities and higher earnings, therefore over 3 lakh Indians are studying there.
The diplomatic stalemate has not affected bilateral trade, which is roughly balanced at $8 billion. If the two countries postpone restoring their camaraderie, it may appear. Canada supplies India with mineral fuels, oils, fertilizers, and lentils, but the export-import trade represents for less than 1% of India’s total commerce. Canadian masur dal shipments account for 95% of India’s lentil imports and are vital amid concerns about local pulse output. Since negotiations that began last year have been halted, the India-Canada Free Trade Agreement may be postponed further.
India needs security, but banning visa services may not be good for the country. Since India has resumed issuing entrance, business, and medical visas, everyone thinks ties will improve. Professional mobility is essential for trade and economic growth.