Canada provided "safe haven" for Khalistani separatists while Pakistan funded them, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday. Bagchi's statement came at a press conference, a first after India-Canada diplomatic row that was set off after Ottawa alleged New Delhi of killing Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
"The allegations of Canada are politically driven. We have conveyed our views on what we see as prejudice. No specific information has been shared by Canada on (the Nijjar) case either earlier or now. We are prepared to look at any information," Bagchi said, adding that India supplied specific information on criminals and wanted persons to Canada, but Canada never acted upon it.
"We condemn any threat to Canadian diplomats, but the larger issue is of (Khalistani) terrorism. We have known for a while that it is funded by Pakistan, with a safe haven provided (by Canada). The question is of political will and whether we want to address it," he added.
"If there is any country (talking about reputational issues) that needs to look at this is Canada and its growing reputation as a safe haven for terrorists and extremists and for organised crime. I think that's the country that needs to worry about it," Bagchi added.
Canada's allegations 'politically driven'
Bagchi also suggested that Canada's allegations of a "potential link" between Indian government agents in the killing of Nijjar appeared to be "politically driven".
"I do think there is a degree of prejudice here. They have made allegations and taken action on them. To us, it seems that these allegations by the government of Canada are primarily politically driven," he said.
'Temporary suspension of visas'
The MEA also said that Indian consulates in Canada have been facing "security threats" causing them to "temporarily" suspend visa applications.
"You are aware of the security threats being faced by our High Commission and Consulates in Canada. This has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our High Commission and Consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications. We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis," Bagchi said.