India Demands Parity in Diplomatic Staff Count with Canada Amid Rising Tensions

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The Indian government has demanded Ottawa to pare down the size of its diplomatic staff in India to achieve balance, not exceeding beyond the count of Indian diplomats in Canada, extending the deadline until October 10 for completion. Amid conflicting reports speculating the extent of the reduction, informed sources invoked the pursuance of parity as the main aim.

Concurrently, it emerged that a significant number of Canadian diplomats stationed in India, especially those posted beyond Delhi, have been whisked away to the safer confines of Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

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This proactive measure undertaken by Global Affairs Canada comes on the heels of certain diplomats receiving potential threats via social media platforms, forcing the department to reevaluate its workforce size in India. As part of the subsequent decisions made to guard against potential risks, a temporary staff downsizing was set into motion, as announced by the department. This sequence of events took place in close proximity to an incident where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed fingers at the Indian government for having a hand in a homicide committed on Canadian ground.

Arindam Bagchi, the Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, while addressing the press on Thursday, presented the Indian stance, mentioning that amidst ongoing discussions over the timeline for the proposed Canadian officials’ departure, the disproportionate Canadian diplomatic presence as well Indian internal affairs being encroached upon led to the diplomatic balance being sought.

Reacting to the initial comings out of India’s demands for reducing Canadian diplomatic representation, both the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly opted for tight-lipped diplomacy to prevent further fraying of relations at this crucial juncture. PM Trudeau, while highlighting the paramount importance the Canadian government attaches to having their diplomats working in cooperation with the Indian government, assured that, despite this challenging period, constructive and responsible engagement with the Indian government would be persevered with. He accentuated that foremost on their agenda was to cater to the interests of Canadians and Canadian families, affirming that the gravity of the situation was not lost on them.