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India-Canada: Situation more secure as e-visas resume

Following the restoration of the e-Visa services by India for Canadian nationals, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the visa issuance was temporarily suspended because the situation in Canada has made it "difficult for our diplomats to do the necessary work."

Addressing a press briefing following the conclusion of the Virtual G20 Leaders' Summit on Wednesday, Jaishankar said that the physical visa has started in many categories.

"Regarding the E visa, you know, first of all, it had nothing to do with the G20 meeting. What had happened was we had temporarily suspended visa issuance because the situation in Canada made it difficult for our diplomats to do the, you know, frankly to go to the office and do the necessary work for processing visas," Jaishankar said.

"As the situation has become more secure or relatively improved. I think we have found it possible for the visa services to progressively resume," he added.

Noting further, the minister said, "...And, you know, the physical visa has started in many categories."

India has resumed electronic visa services for eligible Canadian citizens, the High Commission of India in Canada announced on Wednesday.

The notification released by the Indian High Commission in Canada reads, "Indian eVisa facility has been restored w.e.f. 22 November 2023, for all eligible Canadian citizens holding Regular/Ordinary Canadian passports."

"Holder of any other category of Canadian passport will need to apply for regular paper visa, in accordance with the existing modalities - details may be found on the respective websites of the High Commission of India, Ottawa; Consulate General of India, Toronto and Consulate General of India, Vancouver," it added.

The move to restore e-visa services comes amid a diplomatic row between India and Canada. Earlier in September, the Indian Mission in Canada suspended visa services until further notice, citing operational reasons, according to BLS International.

BLS International Services Limited is an Indian outsourcing service provider for government and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages visa, passport, consular, attestation and citizen services.

"Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from September 21, 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking the BLS website for further updates," the BLS website said.

However, in October, India decided to resume visa services in Canada for four categories after a considered review of the security situation, which "takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard". Entry visa, business visa, medical visa and conference visa were four categories in which India decided to resume visa services in Canada with effect from October 26.

Notably, the ties between India and Canada have been strained after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil earlier this year. Nijjar was shot dead outside Gurdwara in Canada's Surrey on June 18.

(ANI)

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