New Delhi, Oct 5 (EFE).- India on Thursday reiterated that the size of Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi should be on par with the Indian diplomatic presence in Ottawa, following reports that the Canadian embassy in Delhi had been asked to repatriate a large number of of diplomats.
“Given the much higher presence of diplomats or diplomatic presence here and their interference in our internal matters, we have sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a press conference.
He added that discussions were underway with Canadian authorities on the “modalities” to achieve parity, without specifying how many diplomats were set to be repatriated and when.
On Tuesday, British newspaper the Financial Times had reported that New Delhi wanted 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats in India to leave the country within a week, and had threatened to revoke their diplomatic immunity otherwise.
However, both New Delhi and Ottawa have not officially confirmed this report so far.
Ties between the two countries deteriorated last month after Canadian authorities accused India of being involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian activist of Sikh origin.
Nijjar was shot in June 2023 in the western Canadian town of Surrey by unknown gunmen in the parking lot of a Sikh temple.
Indian authorities had charged him with terrorism for advocating the creation of a separate country, Khalistan, for the Sikh minority in the state of Punjab.
Leaks in the Canadian media suggest that Canadian intelligence services have recordings that link Indian authorities to the murder of the Sikh activist
However, New Delhi has rejected Ottawa’s allegations as baseless.
Canada had expelled an Indian diplomat accusing him of being an intelligence official involved in the killing, which triggered a tit-for-tat expulsion on India’s part.
Subsequently, India also issued a security advisory to its citizens in Canada and temporarily suspended visas for Canadians.
Canada, which has a Sikh population of around 770,000 among its 1.8 million Indian diaspora, has asserted the right to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration while rejecting India’s allegations of encouraging pro-Khalistan terrorism. EFE