India is seeking a reduction in Canadian diplomats’ presence in the country because of their “interference” in India’s internal affairs, a spokesman of the country’s External Affairs Ministry Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday.
Bagchi said New Delhi was discussing the matter with the Canadian authorities to achieve parity in both countries’ respective diplomatic presence as the Canadian diplomatic presence was much higher than Indian diplomats’ presence in Ottawa.
“On discussions on parity, 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 very much higher, we would assume that there would be a reduction,” Bagchi said at the weekly press briefing.
Media reports said Canada currently has 62 diplomats in New Delhi, and India had asked Canada to prune its diplomatic strength in India by 41.
Both countries have been locked in a diplomatic row following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusation that the Indian government could be involved in the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
Following Trudeau’s accusation, both countries had expelled one diplomat in each other’s embassy. India later issued an advisory to its nationals about observing caution while visiting those areas in Canada prone to anti-India activities. India also suspended visa services for Canadian citizens.