New Delhi: Khalistan Referendum has led to a diplomatic tug of war between India and Canada with both countries cautioning their nationals against traveling to both countries. It began after India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a warning on September 23 asking Indian nationals and students to be extra careful while traveling to Canada.
According to an MEA notification titled ‘Advisory for Indian Nationals and Students from India in Canada’, the MEA asked the Indian nationals to exercise caution and remain vigilant. It also cautioned the Indian students who are likely to travel to Canada.
MEA had issued the travel advisory four days after US-based Sikh body Sikh For Justice (SFJ) held Khalistan Referendum in Brampton, Canada.
As expected, reacting to the Indian travel advisory for traveling to Canada, the Canadian government on September 27 advised Canadians to avoid going to the places situated 10 kilometres from the international border with Pakistan in the states of Punjab, Gujrat, and Rajasthan due to ‘unpredictable security situation and presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance’. The Canadian government has however excluded Wagah border from the advisory.
The Canadian advisory for traveling to India came before the second round of the Khalistan Referendum which is scheduled to be held in Toronto on November 6.
Indian travel advisory and the counter travel advisory by Canada indicate the lack of trust and deteriorating relations between the two countries despite the fact that Canada is one of the most favoured destinations for Indian students who go to Canada in hoards to pursue education and eventually settle there.
Experts are of the view that the diplomatic tug of war between the two nations could heat up in near future and impact the ‘Canadian dream’ of the Indian students.
Though Canada has maintained that it didn’t recognize the Khalistan Referendum and instead respects the integrity and sovereignty of India yet the Khalistan Referendum has given an opportunity to the flourishing anti-India elements on Canadian soil to be heard across the world thus putting India in an embarrassing situation.
“Indian travel advisory was a damage control exercise post Khalistan Referendum on Canadian soil and to warn the Canadian government to not allow anti-India elements to spread false propaganda against India but Canada responded by issuing a counter travel advisory which was nothing but a diplomatic manoeuvre ” believes the subject experts.