Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the Indian government’s crackdown on Canadian diplomats is making normal life difficult for millions of people in both countries.
Trudeau spoke a day after Canada said it had withdrawn 41 diplomats following an Indian threat to unilaterally revoke their status. New Delhi is angry after Trudeau suggested last month that Indian agents may have been involved in the killing of a Sikh terrorist in Canada in June.
“The Indian government is making it incredibly difficult for millions of people in India and Canada to continue normal life. And they do so by violating a very fundamental principle of diplomacy,” Trudeau said.
“It is something that causes me great concern for the well-being and happiness of millions of Canadians who trace their origins to the Indian subcontinent,” he told reporters at a televised news conference in Brampton, Ontario.
Trudeau said the expulsion of some Canadian diplomats will hamper travel and trade and create difficulties for Indians studying in Canada.
About two million Canadians, 5% of the total population, have Indian ancestry. India is by far the largest source of international students in Canada, accounting for approximately 40% of study permit holders.
India’s foreign ministry earlier rejected the idea that it had violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“The state of our bilateral relations, the vastly larger number of Canadian diplomats in India and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant an equal mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa,” the report said in a statement.
Canada now has 21 diplomats in India.
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