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India to resume visa services for Canadians

India will resume visa services for Canadians after they ceased in a major diplomatic row in September, India’s High Commission in Ottawa says.

At the time, India said the move was due to “security threats” disrupting work at its Canadian missions, reports BBC.

But the suspension came amid a serious dispute over the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.

Ottawa accused India of being behind the killing – an allegation New Delhi has called “absurd.”

On Wednesday, officials said they will resume issuing some visas after reviewing the security situation at their missions, and in light of recent Canadian measures which they did not name.

They added in a statement that “further decisions, as appropriate, would be intimated based on continuing evaluation of the situation”.

Services will reportedly resume on Thursday, and will apply to entry visas, as well as business, medical and conference visas.

Entry visas are specific to “persons of Indian origin” and their spouses and children, according to the website of Toronto’s Consulate General of India. They also apply to immediate family of an Indian citizen.

It is unclear if the resumption of services will apply to Canadian tourists, who would require a specific tourist visa.

Relations between India and Canada reached historic lows after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada was investigating credible allegations of India’s involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader shot and killed in Surrey, British Columbia, in June.

Police at the time described it as a “targeted killing”, but no suspects have yet been identified.

Mr Trudeau has urged for India’s cooperation with the ongoing murder investigation, while stressing that Canada is not looking to escalate the rift with India.

Canada recently withdrew dozens of its diplomats from India, after the country threatened to remove diplomatic immunity for them.

India has said Canada had many more diplomats in Delhi than India has in Ottawa, and has demanded parity ever since the row between the two countries erupted.

But the Global Affairs website, which lists the Indian diplomats in Ottawa, suggests they had about the same number.

Twenty-one Canadian diplomats remain in India.