India has decided to resume e-visa services for Canadians after a hiatus of two months, sources said, signaling a potential easing of diplomatic strains.
This follows last month’s decision by the Indian government to renew certain categories of visa services for Canadian citizens after a month-long ban. Ottawa had welcomed the decision as “good news for Canadians”.
The move to restore e-visa services is a significant step towards mending relations between the two countries following a sharp downturn caused by Canada’s allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil earlier this year.
The diplomatic row began in June when Nijjar was shot dead by unidentified assailants outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau subsequently made allegations in Parliament of "credible" links between Indian government agents and Nijjar's killing, based on intelligence reports. These claims were supported by US intelligence assistance but have yet to be substantiated with public evidence.
India has denied any involvement, describing the allegations as "absurd" and politically motivated.
In response to Canada's actions, India took several retaliatory measures, including the expulsion of intelligence officers, pruning of diplomatic staff, and the issuing of travel advisories. A significant action was the suspension of visa services for Canadian nationals in September, which was seen as a direct reaction to Canada's claims.
The easing of visa restrictions signals a potential thaw in ties, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar previously indicating the country's willingness to relax these measures. At the same time, he acknowledged that relations between the two countries were going through a "difficult phase".
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