In a high-stakes diplomatic maneuver echoing the age-old adage of "an eye for an eye," India has requested the hasty departure of a senior Canadian diplomat, compelling them to exit the country within a mere five days. This move comes hot on the heels of Canada's decision to expel an Indian diplomat, a decision that has set the stage for a tense standoff between these two nations.
The diplomatic squabbling between the two nations has been smouldering for some time, with trade negotiations hanging in the balance and a planned Canadian trade mission to India scrapped. The economic implications of this falling-out are far-reaching, affecting businesses and industries on both sides of the globe.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stirred the pot further by asserting that his nation's security agencies have actively pursued credible allegations linking the Indian government to the June murder of a Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on Canadian soil.
Trudeau's statements, delivered on Monday, have only worsened the strain in relations between Ottawa and New Delhi. Canada is home to the largest Sikh population outside of Punjab in India.
In response to the Canadian actions and allegations, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat, dismissing the claims as "absurd and motivated." The Indian Foreign Ministry, in a strongly worded statement, refuted any involvement in the extrajudicial killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. They underscored that such allegations only serve to divert attention from the real issue at hand, which is the presence of Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have found refuge in Canada and continue to pose a threat to India's sovereignty.
While the Canadian leadership refrained from explicitly accusing India, they called upon Indian authorities to cooperate fully with the investigations.
As tensions intensify, Australia expressed deep concern over Canada's allegations, and the United Kingdom maintained close communication with its Canadian counterparts to monitor the unfolding situation.
As many new Thirders are from India, the sudden changes in diplomatic relationships between both nations are looked upon with anxiety and curiosity.
This report was compiled using information made available by International Media Outlets – CNBC, Al Jazeera, and Reuters. Representational image by Reuters