India & Canada

The rift between India and Canada began with a statement. It flued up when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that there were “credible allegations” linking the Indian government to the murder of famous Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He was murdered on Canadian soil in September 2023, tensions between India and Canada erupted. The claims were vigorously refuted by India as being “absurd and motivated.”

Senior diplomats from both nations have subsequently been dismissed, and India has temporarily stopped issuing visas to Canadians due to “security threats” against Canadian diplomats, according to India.

How was the relationship between India & Canada before the rift?

The Canadian government declared in June 2022 that it would be withdrawing the last of the sanctions placed on India in 2020 as a result of the detention of Kovrig and Spavor. The action was praised by the Indian government, which hailed it as a “positive step” in the right direction.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first trip to India since 2018 in July 2022. Trudeau met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the trip to talk about a variety of topics, including trade, investment, and security. A Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity Cooperation was among the other agreements that the two leaders signed. 

What has actually happened?

Following claims made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against the Indian government in the execution of wanted Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, relations between India and Canada have broken down.

The Indian government has denied every accusation and charged Canada with harbouring Khalistani militants. However, following the recent murder of Nijjar and Trudeau’s failure to denounce Khalistani activity, tensions have finally boiled over. Top diplomats from both nations have also been expelled from the other.

As of September 21, India has stopped providing visa services to citizens of Canada. The suspension of visa services is a temporary measure, according to the administration, and it will be looked at again in the upcoming weeks. When the suspension will be lifted is not yet known.

To protect them from the dangers presented by Khalistani terror groups and social media platforms, it has also been stated that India has ordered to reduce the size of the diplomatic staff stationed in Ottawa.

Do Indian Canadian students feel the effects of the India-Canada rift?

Since 2018. Numerous Indians relocate to Canada each year to pursue higher education. Indians have become the majority of international students in Canada since 2018. 

According to data on immigration, refugees, and citizenship in Canada, 800,000 foreign students enrolled in Canadian universities overall. 40 per cent of them were from India.

Approximately 320,000 Indian students were enrolled at Canadian universities in 2022, up 47% from the previous year, according to figures provided by the Canadian Bureau of International Education. This year we have seen that the Indian Students Visa are cancelled for the time being and a precautionary measure is issued for people already present over there. 


The gap is mostly caused by the Khalistan problem. Some Sikhs have been advocating for Khalistan, a hypothetical autonomous Sikh country, since the 1970s. Since a long time ago, the Indian government has repressed Khalistani activists whom it accuses of supporting terrorism.

Although the Canadian government has said that it opposes the Khalistan movement, it has also voiced its concern over violations of human rights in India, notably in Punjab.

The length of the conflict between India and Canada is unknown. Although all parties have stated their commitment to using diplomacy to resolve the conflict, there is no indication of when this could occur. In the meantime, the divide is expected to have a severe influence on bilateral relations between the two countries. It might also harm Canada’s standing as a safe sanctuary for immigrants and refugees.

As of now let’s hope that the issue is resolved and no damages occur.

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