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Canadian decision to cease operations of 3 consulates in India “unilateral”, not related to parity: Sources

Source: ANI

Canadian decision to cease operations of 3 consulates in India “unilateral”, not related to parity: Sources
Canadian decision to cease operations of 3 consulates in India “unilateral”, not related to parity: Sources 7

New Delhi: India’s decision to seek parity in diplomatic representation was only related to the missions in Ottawa and New Delhi, and there is no impact on Canadian diplomatic strength in their consulates in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chandigarh, sources informed on Friday.

The Canadian decision to cease operations of their three consulates in India is “unilateral” and “not related” to the implementation of parity, the source added.

Notably, India’s decision to seek parity was conveyed to Canada around one month ago, with a target implementation date of October 10, however, the date was extended till October 20 as details and modalities of implementation, including the list of Canadian diplomats who would continue to be accorded diplomatic immunities and privileges were being worked out in consultation with the Canadian side, as per sources.

The attempts by Canada to portray this as an “arbitrary” and “overnight” decision is factually inaccurate, sources said.

According to sources, India’s action to limit the size of the Canadian High Commission to bring parity with the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, was warranted by the state of India-Canada bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in our internal affairs.

“Our action is as per provisions of Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) which provides the receiving state the right to limit the size of a diplomatic mission to what it considers reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the particular Mission. Article 11.1 has been used in the past by other countries on many occasions,” the sources said.

India had also conveyed to Canada that in order to limit the size of the missions in New Delhi and Ottawa, only a specific number of diplomats as per parity would continue to enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.

Canada’s domestic legislation (Para 4(1) of the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act 1991) itself provides for comparable treatment of foreign diplomats in Canada to what its own diplomats get in a foreign country, as well as withdrawal of any of their diplomatic privileges and immunities, sources added.

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs said no international norms were violated in India seeking parity in the mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa.

Canada had accused India of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Thursday said that Canada has removed 41 diplomats and their 42 dependants from India amid the ongoing row between the two countries.

“We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms,” the MEA said.

The MEA statement noted that the state of the ties between India and Canada as well as Ottawa’s continued presence in India’s internal affairs warrant a “parity” in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa.

“We have seen the Statement by the Government of Canada on October 19 regarding Canadian diplomatic presence in India,” the ministry statement read.

It added, “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”.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Thursday said that India has conveyed its plan to remove diplomatic immunities for 41 Canadian diplomats and their families.

“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 tomorrow, 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,” Joly said, as she confirmed the departure of Canadian diplomats.

She added, “There’s no question that India’s decision will impact the levels of services to citizens in both countries. Unfortunately, we have to put a pause on all in-person services in our consulates in Chandigarh, Mumbai and in Bangalore.”

Notably, the ties between India and Canada have been strained after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in September alleged that the Indian government was behind the fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

India has out rightly rejected the claims, calling it ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’. Notably, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Nijjar.

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