Canada announced on Thursday the removal of 41 diplomats from India in response to the escalating diplomatic tensions between the two nations regarding the assassination of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, in a press conference, said, “As of now, I can confirm that India has formally conveyed its plan to unethically remove diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi by October 20."
“This means 41 Canadian diplomats and their 42 dependents were in danger of having immunity stripped on an arbitrary date and this would put their personal safety at risk,” she said. Joly added that India’s decision will impact the levels of services to Consulates in both countries. “Unfortunately, we have to put a pause on all in-person services in our Consulates in Chandigarh, in Mumbai and in Bangalore,” she added.
Actions in line with Vienna convention: MEA
India, reacting to Canada's statement on withdrawal of its diplomats, said the actions are consistent with Vienna Convention
"We have seen the Statement by the Government of Canada on October 19 regarding Canadian diplomatic presence in India," the MEA said in a statement.
"The state of our bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant a parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa," it said.
"We have been engaged with the Canadian side on this over the last month in order to work out the details and modalities of its implementation."
"Our actions in implementing this parity are fully consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which states the following:
"In the absence of specific agreement as to the size of the mission, the receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the particular mission."," the MEA added.
"We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms," the MEA said.
Nijjar killing allegations worsen India-Canada ties
The relationship between India and Canada deteriorated last month when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations of the Indian government's involvement in Hardeep Singh Nijjar's assassination within Canadian territory. New Delhi vehemently denied these accusations, leading to a reciprocal expulsion of diplomats from both nations.