The centre today said that no international norms were violated in India seeking parity in the mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa. The statement came just hours after Canada withdrew 41 diplomats accusing India of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
“The state of our bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant a parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa,” it added.
Earlier today, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced that 41 diplomats have been recalled from India.
“I can confirm that India has formally conveyed its plan to unethically remove diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by tomorrow, October 20. This means 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having immunity stripped on an arbitrary date. And this would put their personal safety at risk,” she said.
“Immunities allow diplomats to do their work without fear of reprisal or arrests from the country they’re in. They are a fundamental principle of diplomacy and this is a two-way street. They only work if every country abides by the rules. A unilateral revocation of diplomatic privilege and immunities is contrary to international law. It is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and threatening to do so is unreasonable and escalatory,” she added.
Canada also paused all in-person services at the consulates in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru and urged its citizens in these three cities to exercise caution. All Canadians in India have been asked to contact the High Commission in New Delhi in case they need assistance.
India last month asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited what he said was credible evidence of a potential link between Indian agents and the murder of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India denies any connection to the shooting outside a Sikh temple in June.