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Amid strained ties, Canada pulling diplomats from India, citing 'threats'

Jean-Pierre Godbout, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, confirmed that Canada would be bringing some of its staff out of the country

Justin Trudeau

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: Reuters)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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As tensions continue to mount over Ottawa's allegations this week that Indian government agents may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen, Canada is pulling some diplomats out of India, according to a report by National Post.

On Wednesday, Jean-Pierre Godbout, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, confirmed that Canada would be bringing some of its staff out of the country.

Godbout wrote in an email that Canada is taking action to ensure the safety of its diplomats, and Global Affairs Canada is looking at its staff complement in India, with some diplomats having received threats on several social media platforms.

"As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India. All of our locations are staffed by diplomats and locally engaged staff to ensure business and operational continuity," Godbout said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada was investigating credible allegations that the Indian government agents were involved in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C., earlier this year.

Nijjar, a Khalistani separatist, was shot dead in his truck on June 18 outside a gurdwara in Surrey. He was wanted in India for being the "mastermind" of the Khalistani Tiger Force, a designated terror group in India.

Godbout also stated that all of Canada's diplomatic offices in India would remain open, and the department is making decisions about who returns on a case-by-case basis.

Canada will continue to take all appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of all our personnel and to protect its operations in India. The professional profile of an employee or their personal circumstances will be factored in while making decisions, he added.

"In the context of respect for obligations under the Vienna conventions, we expect India to provide for the security of our accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, just as we are for theirs here," he said.

In July, India's High Commission in Canada reportedly sought additional security from Ottawa for its diplomats after posters advertising a protest over Nijjar's murder appeared with threats against Indian diplomats written on them.

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First Published: Sep 21 2023 | 12:06 PM IST

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