India has told Canada to withdraw around 40 diplomats from the country, according to a report published on Monday.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Financial Times said that New Delhi has set a deadline of Oct. 10 for their repatriation and has threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of those who remain beyond that date.
According to the report, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi has a larger number of diplomats compared to India's representation in Ottawa. This disparity is attributed to the substantial consular section required to assist relatives of the approximately 1.3 million Canadians who assert Indian heritage.
The report also said that Ottawa currently has 62 diplomats in India, and New Delhi has instructed them to reduce this number by 41 people.
The reported move has unfolded amid tensions between the two nations after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged publicly on Sept. 18 that India was involved in the assassination of Sikh-Canadian leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia in June.
After Trudeau’s accusation, which also called for India to cooperate in an investigation into Nijjar’s killing, Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat.
The Indian government reacted strongly, calling the allegations “absurd,” and in a tit-for-tat move expelled a Canadian representative.
In addition, New Delhi froze visa services for Canadians. The government issued a travel advisory of its own, telling Indian citizens that “in view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution.”