On a day when a foreign media report said India had asked Canada to fly back 41 diplomats employed across India by October 10, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 3 asserted that Canada was not trying to “escalate” the diplomatic crisis with India, and described the current phase of relation with New Delhi as “extremely challenging”.
The Financial Times report citing sources indicated deepening tension between the two sides, days after the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs reminded Canada of “parity” in the presence of diplomats in each other’s missions. The report said Canada had 62 diplomats posted in India and South Block had urged Ottawa to take back 41.
The newspaper further said that India has threatened to withdraw diplomatic immunity of those Canadian diplomats who have been asked to return, if they fail to do so by October 10. India has declined to comment on the report.
In an interaction with the media in Ottawa on October 3, Mr. Trudeau said it was necessary for Canada to have diplomats on the ground in India.
“Obviously, we’re going through an extremely challenging time with India right now,” he was quoted as saying by the Toronto Sun newspaper.
According to CBS News, he did not confirm the The Financial Times report, and said, “We’re not looking to escalate, as I’ve said, we’re going to be doing the work that matters in continuing to have constructive relations with India through this extremely difficult time.”
Echoing the Prime Minister’s remarks, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Canada wished to have a “strong diplomatic footprint” in India.