India on Wednesday advised all its citizens living in Canada and those contemplating travel to exercise “utmost caution” in view of growing anti-India activities and “politically-condoned hate crimes” in the North American country. The statement of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came a day after a diplomatic row erupted between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
In the statement, the ministry referred to “threats” targeting Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community that oppose the “anti-India agenda”, and asked Indian nationals to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada which have seen such incidents.
The High Commission/Consulate General will continue to be in contact with the Canadian authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian community in Canada, the statement said, adding that the government mentioned that given the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students in particular are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.
“Indian nationals and students from India in Canada must also register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites, or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in. Registration would enable the High Commission and the Consulates General to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any emergency or untoward incident,” added the statement.
It is also learnt that Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi while National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is said to have met Union Home Minister Amit Shah amid the rising tension between the two nations.
The advisory to Indian nationals and students in Canada comes amid escalating tensions between the two countries over Khalistan extremism. A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled on Tuesday by India in a tit-for-tat move after Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed “foreign powers” were behind the killing of pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force terrorist group, and sacked an Indian diplomat.
High Commissioner to India Cameron MacKay was summoned by MEA headquarters at South Block in Delhi on Tuesday amid India-Canada fireworks over Nijjar’s death and was informed about the expulsion of the senior Canadian diplomat.
The diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days, sources said.
In a statement, the MEA said that the decision reflects Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities.
Soon after the expulsion, MEA sources told News18 that the ministry’s grounds of diplomat expulsions are “strong and was in mind for long”.
(with inputs from PTI)