There seems to be a glimmer of hope. On Thursday, India resumed visa services for certain categories in Canada which was suspended for a month amid a diplomatic row between the two countries over the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canada welcomed the decision. Immigration Minister Marc Miller said it was “a good sign after an anxious time.’’ “Our feeling is that a suspension should never have happened in the first place," he was quoted as saying by CTV News.
While tourist, student, employment, and film visas are not open as yet, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa will start processing entry, business, medical, and conference visas.
"After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some of the recent Canadian measures in this regard, it has been decided to resume visa services,’’ a statement issued by the Indian High Commission said. This would be applicable to Canadians applying abroad too.
India may have chosen not to open the doors to the biggest number of applicants at the moment. But it does suggest that conversations are happening behind closed doors and they are working. The most important bit of the statement that suggested that progress has been made was India saying it is comfortable with the “security situation’’. India had said the decision was taken "after a considered review of the security situation."
New Delhi had lodged a strong protest with Canada after posters that appeared to offer cash rewards in exchange for the home addresses of Indian diplomats were circulated in Canada.
The resumption of visas by India comes in the same week that saw 41 Canadian diplomats leaving India to ensure “parity’’ in staff at the missions. It also comes at a time when the UK, the US, and New Zealand have chosen to express their concern over the reduction of Canadian diplomats in India. “We are concerned by the departure of Canadian diplomats from India….Resolving differences requires diplomats on the ground. We have urged India not to insist upon reduction in Canada’s diplomatic presence and to cooperate in the ongoing Canadian investigation,’’ a press statement by Matthew Miller, US State Department spokesperson, had said.
In a statement, the Canada-India Business Council said it was "a promising development" for trade. "It is also a positive sign that both governments have expressed their support for bilateral business and investments amidst these unusual times," Victor Thomas, Canada-India Business Council head, has been quoted as saying in a statement.