India warns citizens in Canada to exercise 'utmost caution', Canada says it's a 'safe country'

This comes amid worsening ties between the two countries.

Brenda Khoo | September 21, 2023, 05:44 PM



India has warned its citizens in Canada to exercise "utmost caution" due to “politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” after the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada.

However, Canada rejected India's travel advisory on Sep. 20, saying it is still a "safe" country. This week, it has also updated its travel advisory, urging its citizens in India to exercise a "high degree of caution" due to the "threat of terrorist attacks".

Tit-for-tat: What's going on

The tit-for-tat over travel advisories comes amid escalating tensions between India and China. The souring relationship has been affecting their political and economic ties.

Here's a timeline to show what happened:

  • Jun. 8: A Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was murdered outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, Canada. He had been declared by India as a wanted terrorist for creating an independent Sikh nation, Khalistan, that would include part of India's Punjab state.
  • Early July: After Nijjar's murder, protests by Canada's Sikh community erupted in Toronto. They were demonstrating against the Indian government, which they believe is responsible for Nijjar's death.
  • Sep. 1: Canada suspended talks for a proposed trade treaty with India.
  • Sep. 10: India PM Narendra Modi conveyed his "strong concerns" about the protests in Canada to Trudeau at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India.
  • Sep. 15: Canada's minister of trade cancelled a trip to India that was originally planned to take place in October.
  • Sep. 18: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said in his speech in Parliament that it was "actively pursuing credible allegations" that the Indian government agents were involved in Nijjar's murder. The Canadian leader also urged the Indian government to "cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter".
  • Sep. 18: Canada expelled an Indian diplomat later during the day.
  • Sep. 19: India said that Canada's claims were "absurd and motivated".
  • Sep. 19: In retaliation, India also expelled a Canadian diplomat.
  • Sep. 20: India and Canada has a tit-for-tat over travel advisories.

Implications for S'pore

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has not issued any travel advisories for Singaporeans visiting Canada or India.

However, latest press releases by MFA state that Singapore still shares a "warm and longstanding" relationship with Canada, as well as a "long-standing relationship underpinned by close cooperation in many areas" with India.

Top image from Justin Trudeau/Facebook.

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