Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is “not looking to escalate” a diplomatic row with New Delhi, but declined to say whether Canada would match India’s decision to ask for the removal 41 Canadian diplomats.
India is learnt to have told Canada to withdraw around 40 diplomats from the country by October 10 amid worsening ties between the two nations, according to reports.
The reports have said that New Delhi has conveyed to Canada that if the diplomats are not withdrawn by the deadline, they will lose their diplomatic immunity.
There are more than 60 Canadian diplomats posted in India.
Last month, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had alleged in Parliament that Indian intelligence agents may have been involved in the murder of Sikh pro-Khalistan hardliner Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the diplomatic relations have hit an all time low between the two nations.
Following Trudeau’s allegations, both the countries had expelled a diplomat each.
India had also termed Canada’s allegations as “politically driven”.
On September 21, while replying to questions related to a possible reduction of Canadian diplomats stationed in India, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said: “Yes, we’ve informed the government of Canada that there should be parity in strength in our mutual diplomatic presence. Their number is very much higher than ours in Canada… I assume there will be a reduction from the Canadian side.”
Nijjar was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18 by masked gunmen.