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India tells Canada to remove 41 diplomats as spat intensifies, FT says

Demonstrators rally in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, outside the Indian consulate in Toronto on Sept. 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.    (Cole Burston/AFP/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/TNS)
By Sudhi Ranjan Sen Bloomberg News

India has instructed Canada to reduce the number of diplomats in the South Asian country by two thirds as relations between the two nations continue to slide over the murder of a Sikh separatist leader, the Financial Times reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

New Delhi has told Canada it must repatriate about 40 diplomats by Oct. 10 and has threatened to revoke the immunity of diplomats who remain after that date, the newspaper said. Canada has 62 diplomats in India and has been told to reduce that by 41, it said.

The Canadian foreign ministry and the Indian government declined to comment to the newspaper.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused India’s government of involvement in the June killing of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada. India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who was in Washington last week, said he had discussed the issue with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and added that political assassination was “not consistent with our policy.”

India said last month it informed the Canadian government that there should be parity in the nation’s diplomatic presence in New Delhi and expects Canada to reduce its diplomats in the country.