Canada must reduce diplomatic staff, discussions on to arrive at parity: MEA

On Thursday, the Indian government reiterated its call for Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in India, citing the need for a balanced allocation of diplomatic personnel and expressing concerns about alleged interference by certain Canadian diplomats in India\’s internal affairs.

Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, announced that discussions are currently in progress to establish the specific arrangements for achieving a more equitable distribution of diplomatic representation between the two nations. Bagchi underscored that given the substantial disparity in the number of Canadian diplomats in India and their alleged involvement in India\’s internal matters, India has requested a reduction in Canada\’s diplomatic contingent.

The spokesperson pointed out that India anticipates a reduction in the number of Canadian diplomatic staff due to the considerable gap between the Canadian diplomatic presence in India and India\’s diplomatic representation in Canada.

Earlier this week, India called upon Canada to withdraw approximately 40 diplomats from its missions, marking a significant development in an escalating diplomatic dispute. The dispute was ignited by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau\’s allegation linking Indian agents to the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. India vehemently rejected these allegations, characterizing them as \”absurd\” and \”motivated.\”

Bagchi also voiced India\’s apprehensions concerning the safety of Indian diplomats and diplomatic facilities in Canada, underscoring that New Delhi routinely addresses this matter with the Canadian authorities.

In response to a separate query regarding protests by pro-Khalistani elements in the UK, Bagchi indicated that India has conveyed its concerns to British authorities. He noted that there was a protest in the UK on October 2 and highlighted India\’s consistent communication of concerns related to the security of diplomats, diplomatic facilities, and the well-being of the Indian community. The primary objective is to ensure the safety and normal functioning of Indian diplomats and diplomatic establishments while averting any targeting of the Indian diaspora.

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