MONTREAL — Members of the Indo-Canadian community are reeling after the Indian government temporarily halted visa services for Canadian citizens, forcing some to rethink travel plans to their mother country.
India's visa application centre in Canada announced the suspension on Thursday, widening a rift between the two countries after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said New Delhi may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen.
Montrealer Sukhwinder Dhillon says he was planning to visit his birthplace in India's Punjab state to see family and sort out affairs with his deceased father's estate, but has now put the trip on hold.
The grocery store owner, who came to Canada in 1998, says he makes the trip every two or three years, and hopes the visa halt will be short-lived.
On Monday, Trudeau told Parliament there were "credible allegations" of Indian involvement in the assassination of Sikh independence activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, prompting India to issue a travel advisory warning of violence against Indian nationals and students in Canada amid a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats by both sides.
In 2021, 80,000 Canadian tourists visited India, making them the fourth largest group, according to India’s Bureau of Immigration.
The Canadian Press