Canada has advised Indian residents living in Canada to be cautious amid the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Canada and India. Previously, Canada had issued travel advisories to its citizens traveling to India. However, they are now emphasizing that this advisory is not related to any recent incidents but is a general precaution in light of the current India-Canada diplomatic dispute.
The Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi has provided this guidance to Indian residents in Canada, urging them to exercise caution in areas where incidents of violence are occurring due to the ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
Before issuing this advisory, Canada had already been cautioning its citizens about travel to India. However, they are now clarifying that this advisory is not related to any previous or recent incidents but is due to the current India-Canada diplomatic tensions.
The Delhi Ministry of External Affairs has stated in a statement that this advisory is being given to Indian residents in Canada due to “increasing anti-India activities and political patronage to secessionist and extremist elements in Canada and glorification of violence.” They have recommended avoiding areas where such violence is occurring.
Before Canada issued this travel advisory, they had been regularly updating their travel advisory for their citizens traveling to India. However, the Canadian government has informed BBC that this caution is not due to any recent developments but is a precautionary measure in light of the ongoing diplomatic dispute.
The recent tensions between Canada and India escalated further when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in the Canadian Parliament that there are links between the Indian government agencies and the assailants in the Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder case. Both India and Canada have expelled one top diplomat from each other’s countries.
The world is now closely watching this dispute.
In this situation, there is also concern expressed for Indian students residing in Canada, especially those who are studying in various provinces of Canada and have become active members of Canada’s workforce.
Around 18% of Canada’s immigrant population comes from India, according to information released by Canada last year. It’s worth noting that since 2018, Canada has received the highest number of international students from India.
According to a report by the Indian Express, Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo, and Brampton cities in Canada have the largest Indian immigrant populations. Among these cities, Toronto is considered a strong hub for development in Canada.
Apart from these cities, a significant number of Indians reside in British Columbia. It was in a Gurudwara in British Columbia that Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead.
According to a report by Reuters, as of 2022, 40% of international students studying in Canada are from India.
In Canada’s economy too, Indians have a significant presence. According to a Reuters report, around 30 Indian organizations, including TCS, Infosys, and Wipro, have invested billions of dollars in Canada.
Prominent Canadian-based journalist Gurpreet Singh says that due to the recent India-Canada dispute, there is growing anxiety within the Indian community in Canada. He stated, “The Indian community in Canada has mixed opinions on the current situation. Some consider Justin Trudeau’s statement regarding the links of Indian agencies in the Hardeep Singh Nijjar case as crucial. India and Canada have expelled one top diplomat each. They are particularly concerned about how the ongoing tense relations between the two countries will affect visa issuance and business trade. An uncertain situation has been created.”
Regarding the situation among the Indian diaspora, Singh also mentioned, “There are different opinions within the Indian Sikh community just like among the Sikhs. While some Sikhs support the Khalistani ideology, there is also a faction that opposes it. When Narendra Modi visited here in 2015, he was warmly welcomed at the oldest gurdwara here. Similarly, a faction of Hindus in Canada supports the RSS ideology. However, there is another faction that opposes it. They believe that Trudeau’s statement was unnecessary.”
The Indian diaspora in Canada is diverse, and there are also various opinions among them. A report by Forbes published four years ago mentioned that since 2013, the Indian population in Canada has grown more than threefold.
A significant portion of the Indian diaspora in Canada consists of students. There are also students among them who are planning to go there in the coming years.
However, according to LiveMint, some experts have mentioned that the changes in the Canadian environment will not have a significant impact on Indian residents or Indian students in Canada.
On this matter, Gurpreet Singh, a Canadian-based journalist, stated, “There are two types of opinions among Indian residents on this entire issue. For some, it’s a matter of great concern that Justin Trudeau mentioned the involvement of Indian agencies in the Hardeep Singh Nijjar case. Others believe that it was unnecessary for Trudeau to make that statement.”
Canada’s Indian diaspora includes people who speak languages other than Punjabi, such as Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, and Telugu.
According to Canada’s census, Hindus make up 2.3% of the country’s population, which is slightly higher than the Sikh population. However, these numbers are still lower compared to the Sikh population.
The Khalistani demand was prominent in the 1980s in India.