India High Commission in Canada announced on Wednesday that it is easing visa services for Canadians and will resume issuing visas starting Thursday. This decision comes after a suspension of over a month, which began on September 21. The High Commissioner of India to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, acknowledged that the situation still isn’t ideal for regular diplomatic and consular functions.
In a release, the High Commission stated that they will restart services for entry, business, medical, and conference visas. The High Commission and Consulates will continue to handle emergency visa situations.
The announcement covered four of the eight visa categories; however, it omitted tourist, employment, student, and film visas. The decision to resume India visa services followed a comprehensive review of the security situation, taking into account recent measures taken by the Canadian authorities.
Verma mentioned that a positive change in the security environment for Indian diplomats and consular officials in Canada could lead to potential adjustments in the Indian visa regulations for Canadian citizens. Nevertheless, the persisting issue is the targeting of India’s senior diplomats and missions by pro-Khalistan elements.
Verma pointed out that security threats primarily stem from the anti-India activities of a small number of inimical elements in Canada. Consequently, failure to address the root causes of these threats will result in the persistence of security concerns.
Notably, pro-Khalistan groups organized car rallies to India’s High Commission in Ottawa and its Consulates in Toronto and Vancouver. During these rallies, posters labeling Verma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar as “Enemies of Canada” were prominently displayed. Additionally, groups like Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) have upcoming activities, including the next phase of the Khalistan Referendum scheduled for October 29 in Surrey.