File photograph of Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly. EFE-EPA/BAY ISMOYO/POOL

India withdraws immunity from 41 Canadian diplomats

Toronto, Canada, Oct 20 (EFE). – India has withdrawn the immunity of 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats in the country, forcing them to leave the country.

The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, said in a press conference that she was organizing the departure of the 41 diplomats and their families on Friday and that the Canadian government will not respond with similar actions.

The expulsion of Canadian diplomats comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 18 implicated Indian authorities in the murder of a Sikh community leader in Canada.

“The unilateral withdrawal of diplomatic immunity is contrary to international law,” Joly said.

“It is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” she added.

The minister stressed, however, that Canada “will continue to engage with India.”

On September 18, Trudeau made a solemn statement in the Canadian Parliament in which he declared that the country’s intelligence services had credible allegations of the involvement of Indian agents in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

“Any involvement by a foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” said Trudeau, who asked India to cooperate in the investigation.

The victim, a Sikh leader originally from India who became a naturalized Canadian in 2007, was murdered in Surrey, western Canada, in June 2023.

Singh Nijjar, was shot by unknown assailants in the parking lot of a Sikh temple.

Nijjar had been accused of terrorism by Indian authorities for advocating the creation of a Punjab of an independent country, Khalistan, for the Sikh minority.

About 1.8 million people of Indian origin live in Canada, including about 770,000 Sikhs. EFE