Canada's foreign minister on Thursday said the country has recalled 41 of its diplomats from India, following Indian government's threat to revoke their diplomatic immunity. This comes after Canada's allegations that India may have been involved in the June killing of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar in suburban Vancouver.
India accused Canada of harbouring separatists and "terrorists," and dismissed the allegation of its involvement in the killing as "absurd" and has taken diplomatic steps to express its anger over the accusation, reported Associated Press.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Thursday that 41 of Canada's 62 diplomats in India have been removed, along with their dependants. Exceptions have been made for 21 Canadian diplomats who will remain in India.
"Forty one Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependants were in danger of having their immunity stripped on an arbitrary date and this would put their personal safety at risk," Joly said. "Our diplomats and their families have now left."
Joly said removing diplomatic immunity is contrary to international law, and said for that reason Canada wouldn't threaten to do the same thing with Indian diplomats.
"A unilateral revocation of the diplomatic privilege and immunity is contrary to international law and a clear violation of Geneva Convention on diplomatic relations. Threatening to do so is unreasonable and escalatory," Joly said.
Joly said India's decision will impact the level of services to citizens of both countries. She said Canada is pausing in-person services in three major cities in India.
India also has cancelled visas for Canadians, and Canada has not retaliated for that. India previously expelled a senior Canadian diplomat after Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously appeared to try to calm the diplomatic clash, telling reporters that Canada is "not looking to provoke or escalate."