India has asked Canada to withdraw 41 of its diplomats from the country by October 10, reducing the number of Canadian diplomats in India from 62 to 21. The move comes amid a diplomatic rift between the two countries over the murder of a Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia in June.
Canada expressed concern over the possible role of Indian government agents in the murder and has launched an investigation into the matter.
Canada is home to about 770,000 Sikhs, the largest population outside India, and some of them have been vocal supporters of Khalistan. India has long been unhappy with Canada’s perceived tolerance of Sikh separatist groups and their activities. The relations between the two countries have also been strained by other issues such as trade disputes and human rights concerns.
The diplomatic row is likely to affect the bilateral ties and cooperation between India and Canada on various fronts, such as trade, security, education, and culture.