Tensions Ramp Up: India Suspends Visa Services In Canada
NEW DELHI (ANI) – Visa services provider BLS International has with immediate effect suspended Indian visa services in Canada, amid a diplomatic standoff between the countries.
BLS International Services Limited is an Indian outsourcing service provider for government and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages visa, passport, consular, attestation, and citizen services.
On September 20, Indian nationals, students in Canada, and those planning on traveling to the country were advised to exercise caution. Indian nationals and Indian students in Canada were advised to avoid traveling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen growing anti-India activities, according to a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Indian students in Canada have been particularly advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.
India said on September 21 that security threats being faced by the country’s High Commission and Consulates in Canada have disrupted their normal functioning and they are temporarily unable to process visa applications.
During the weekly press conference, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that “disrupts the functioning of our consulates.”
The spokesperson faced a volley of questions over the row between India and Canada following the tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats and the allegations made by Canada in connection with the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Bagchi said e-visas are also on temporary suspension. “All categories of visas are suspended,” he said. “Those who have valid visas, OCIs are free to travel to India. The issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that disrupts the functioning of our consulates which is what is making us stop temporarily the issuance of visa services. We will review this situation on a regular basis,” he added.