India has indefinitely suspended visa services for Canadian citizens, citing "operational reasons," amidst a growing diplomatic dispute between the two nations.
The suspension was announced on Thursday by BLS International Services Limited, an outsourced visa processing service provider for the Indian government in Canada.
The move comes in the wake of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of Indian government involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Najjar, a Canadian Sikh separatist leader, in June.
This has triggered a furious exchange of accusations and countermeasures between the two countries.
The notice issued by BLS International read, "Due to operational reasons, with effect from September 21, 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended until further notice. Please keep checking BLS website for further updates."
Relations between India and Canada have deteriorated significantly following Trudeau's claims.
In a statement to the Canadian Parliament earlier this week, he said, "Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty."
As part of their response, Canada has ejected an Indian diplomat identified as heading the intelligence wing of the Indian High Commission in Ottawa. India has vehemently denied these allegations, labeling them as "absurd." In retaliation, India ordered a high-ranking Canadian diplomat in Delhi to leave the country within five days.
Furthermore, India has issued a new travel advisory warning its citizens against traveling to certain parts of Canada, reflecting the increasing tension between the two nations.