Security personnel stand guard in front of the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi. (Photo | AFP)
Security personnel stand guard in front of the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi. (Photo | AFP)

Five Eyes members US, UK back Canada after it withdraws 41 diplomats from India

India, however, maintains that it has not violated the Vienna Convention by seeking diplomatic parity with Canada.

NEW DELHI: The US and UK, who are part of the Five Eyes alliance, have extended support to Canada after it withdrew 41 diplomats from India. This followed India seeking parity in the number of diplomats.

"Resolving differences requires communication and diplomats in respective Capitals. We do not agree with the Indian government’s decision that has resulted in a number of Canadian diplomats departing India," said the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The FCDO further said that they expect all states to uphold their obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

"The unilateral removal of the privileges and immunities that provide for the safety and security of diplomats is not consistent with the principles of the effective functioning of the Vienna Convention," it added.

The US State Department also expressed concern at the departure of Canadian diplomats from India.

"We are concerned by the departure of Canadian diplomats from India, in response to the Indian governments demand of Canada to significantly reduce its diplomatic presence in India," it said.

India, however, maintains that it has not violated the Vienna Convention by seeking diplomatic parity with Canada.

India said that seeking diplomatic parity is fully consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention. This article states: “In the absence of specific agreement as to the size of the mission, the receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and the needs of the particular mission.”

Meanwhile, both the US and the UK reiterated their call for India to cooperate in Canada’s investigation into the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation last month about the involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of Nijjar triggered the ongoing diplomatic row. India rejected the accusation as “absurd” and sought parity in diplomatic presence soon after.

Meanwhile, Australia’s domestic intelligence chief has said he has no reason to dispute Canada’s claims of a possible link between the Indian government and the killing of Nijjar. Asked by Australia’s ABC News for his assessment of Canada’s allegations, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) director general Mike Burgess said (in California) that he would have “no reason to dispute what the Canadian government has said in this matter”.

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