India piling diplomatic pressure in standoff with Canada

Amid the ongoing India-Canada diplomatic row and New Delhi's demand to reduce the Canadian diplomatic staff here in the national capital, Former Indian diplomat K.P. Fabian has said that parity has been brought in to put pressure on Canada.

Speaking to ANI on the India-Canada row, KP Fabian said, "What India has said is that there should be parity. There are 21 Indian diplomats in Canada and there are 62 Canadian diplomats in India. So, parity means, 41 diplomats will have to leave India by October 10... otherwise the excess number, they will be declared persona non grata."

He added by saying, "In other words, in retaliation for Canada expelling 1 diplomat, India is planning to expel 42 diplomats. This is the essence of the picture. The disparity is not always applied. So, parity has been brought in to put pressure on Canada. It is possible that there is a way out."

The former Indian diplomat also spoke at length on Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly's recent remarks in which she said that “Canada is talking privately to India amid the ongoing row”. Fabian explained how diplomatic conversations actually look like when it comes to India-Canada ties in the present times.

"The word privately is very interesting as all diplomatic conversations are discrete and confidential. Till now, Canada and India were talking at each other, not talking to each other... they have been talking at each other through media, deviating from normal diplomacy," he told ANI.

Stating that India's focus is achieving 'parity' in terms of diplomatic presence, India’s Ministry of External Affairs further called for a reduction in Canadian diplomats in India citing their continued "interference" in New Delhi's "internal matters".

This comes amid the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada after which New Delhi suspended the visa operations to Canada and called for a reduction in Canadian diplomats in India.
Addressing the press briefing on October5, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "Given the much higher presence of diplomats or diplomatic presence here... and their continued interference in our internal matters, we have sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence. Discussions are ongoing on the modalities of achieving this".

"Given that Canadian diplomatic presence is higher, we would assume that there would be a reduction," he added.
On being asked if the reduction in the number of Canadian diplomats could see a decrease in the number of visas issued by the Canadian High Commission in India, Bagchi said, "It's up to the Canadian side, who they choose to staff the High Commission with...our concerns are related to ensuring parity in diplomatic presence".


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