The Indian government has given Ottawa until Oct. 10 to reduce Canadian diplomatic staff in that country to a level on par with the number of Indian diplomats in Canada, sources tell CTV News.
Earlier reports pegged the number of diplomats that would have to leave at 41, but the sources CTV News spoke with said the ask is specific to one of parity.
At the same time, CTV News has learned a majority of the Canadian diplomats working in India outside of Delhi have been evacuated to either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
Global Affairs Canada had previously stated that “with some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms,” it was “assessing its staff complement in India.”
“As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India,” the department said, just days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being involved in a murder on Canadian soil.
Earlier Thursday, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters that while discussions were “ongoing” regarding the timeline for Canadian officials leaving, “given the much higher” presence of Canadian diplomats and “their continuing interference in our internal affairs,” India had “sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence.”
When the first reports of India’s demand to reduce Canadian diplomats surfaced earlier this week, the prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly would not confirm them, insisting that they did not want further escalation with India, noting the “extremely challenging time.”
“But that’s why it’s so important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government. They are to support Canadians and Canadian families. We’re taking this extremely seriously, but we’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the government of India,” Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.
Source: CTV News