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India suspends visa services in Canada “until further notice”, announces visa service provider

BLS International, which runs visa application centres in Canada, said on its website that Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice

India has suspended visa services for Canadian nationals as diplomatic ties continue to deteriorate between the two countries. This comes in the backdrop of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau alleging Indian govt’s hand behind the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

BLS International, which runs visa application centres for India in Canada and many other countries, posted a message on its Canadian website which read, “Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking BLS website for further updates.”

Screenshot of BLS International website notifying about the Indian Mission’s notice to suspend visa services to Canadians till further notice

BLS International is an Indian company that provides outsourcing services for diplomatic missions worldwide. The company provides visa, passport, consular, and citizen services.

The website of the High Commission of India in Ottawa has no update on the suspension of visa services, and the website of the Consulate General of India in Toronto seems to be down.

No formal announcement of the suspension of visa services has been made. However, an Indian official reportedly confirmed the suspension but did not comment further. “The language is clear and it says what it is intended to say,” as per Hindustan Times.

On 20 September, the Ministry of External Affairs issued an advisory to its citizens in Canada urging them to exercise caution citing the surge in anti-India activities and politically-endorsed hate crimes.

Meanwhile, security has been heightened at India’s missions in Canada for senior diplomats after Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) chief Gurpatwant Pannun issued threats to Canadian Hindus asking them to leave Canada.

In a video titled “Leave Canada, Indo-Hindus, Go To India”, Pannu said, “Indo-Canadian Hindus, you have repudiated the allegiance to Canada and the Canadian constitution. Your destination is India. Leave Canada, go to India.”

India has sought additional security at the embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Vancouver after the threat issued by SFJ.

Amid such blatant threats and the free pass to the Khalistani elements, it is a must that Indian High Commissions, diplomats, their staff, and citizens get security by the Canadian authorities.

Canada too has sought additional security around its high commission in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru saying that they “expect India to provide for the security of our accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, just as we are for theirs here.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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