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India Rejects Canada’s Accusation over Diplomatic Parity

The Indian government on Friday rejected Canada’s accusation that the implementation of diplomatic parity by asking Canada to withdraw its 41 diplomats from New Delhi was a violation of international norms.

India asked Canada to withdraw diplomats two weeks ago amid a row over the killing of the Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjara in June this year. Canada had directly blamed India for the murder.

On Thursday, Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly confirmed that many Canadian diplomats and their dependents in India had left the country. India had said the immunity for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents would be unilaterally removed by Oct. 20, she added.

Joly also accused India of escalating bilateral tensions by acting “contrary to international law and in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” However, she said Canada will not retaliate.

In reaction to Joly’s accusation, India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying: “We have seen the statement by the government of Canada on Oct. 19 regarding Canadian diplomatic presence in India. We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms.”

“The state of our bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant a parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa,” it said.

“Our actions in implementing this parity are fully consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which states that in the absence of specific agreement as to the side of the mission, the receiving state may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving state and to the needs of the particular mission,” it added.