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THE CONTEXT: Diplomatic tensions between India and Canada escalated earlier this month when India requested the withdrawal of diplomats and threatened to remove the diplomatic immunity of any Canadian diplomat who remained in the country after the specified date.
MORE ON THE NEWS:
- Tensions between the two countries escalated after the Canadian Prime Minister announced that there were “credible allegations” of the Indian government being behind the killing of a Canadian citizen who was a designated terrorist in India.
- While India has strongly denied the allegation, a full-blown diplomatic war has flared up between the two nations.
- Both nations expelled each other’s diplomats and visa services, citing security concerns.
- Canada has expressed concern that India had threatened to unilaterally revoke the diplomats’ official status, this action has been alleged in violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
- The MEA has retorted that the convention’s Article 11.1 does authorise India to “require that the size of a mission be kept within limits”.
WHAT IS THE VIENNA CONVENTION?
- The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is an international treaty signed by 61 countries in 1961.
- It puts forth a framework for diplomatic interactions between independent nations and aims to ensure the ‘development of friendly relations among nations’.
- At present, 193 countries are party to the document.
What is Article 11.1 about?
- This particular segment pertains to the size of international missions within other countries.
- India insists that its actions are consistent with the tenets set forth in Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
- India and Canada have longstanding bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and strong interpersonal connections.
- Canada is home to one of the largest communities of Indian origin, with approximately 4% of Canadians being of Indian heritage (1.3 million people).
- The deep cultural and political ties between Canada and India are strengthened by a growing network of official dialogues, agreements, memoranda of understanding and working groups.
- India is Canada’s 10th largest trading partner. Canada and India are working toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) to deepen the commercial relationship.
ISSUES ARISING OUT OF DIPLOMATIC TENSION:
- Impact on trade: Diplomatic tension can impact trade relations between both the countries and can accelerate global slowdown which is already affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
- Suffering of Ordinary people: Ordinary people will suffer as India and Canada cut down visa services. Apart from that, there are issues of human rights that both countries are pointing in each other countries. As Canada is pointing towards conditions of Sikhs and Muslims, while India expresses concerns over Hindu minorities in Canada.
- Khalistan issue: India has expressed repeated concerns about terrorism related to the Khalistan issue for decades. However, no serious actions have been taken by Canadian authorities.
- Issue of diplomats: Expelling of diplomatic immunity is being seen as a violation of global treaties such as the Vienna Convention which can taint India’s image of
- Geopolitical issues:The recent diplomatic tension can harden viewpoints of both the countries over the important issues as terrorism which can have geopolitical implications.
THE WAY FORWARD
- People to People: Both India and Canada should involve cultural exchanges, educational programs, and other initiatives that would help to strengthen the mutual understanding and respect between the two peoples.
- Addressing Khalistan Issue: To effectively address the Khalistan issue, Both India and Canada must adapt its diplomatic approach to address the issue of the Khalistani separatism.
- Inclusive Dialogue: There is a need to encourage open and inclusive dialogue between all the stakeholders including Indian government, sikh officials and Canadian authorities to address their grievances and misunderstandings.
THE CONCLUSION: With ongoing diplomatic tension between India and Canada, their relations have reached a low point. This needs to be resolved mutually with cooperation and collaboration beyond any political motive for a dynamic partnership.
PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION
Q. ‘Indian diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples. (2020)
MAINS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q. India and Canada bilateral relations face multiple challenges. Comment in the light of recent developments.Spread the Word