May 28th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in News   No Comments »
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Instances have come to light where serving and retired Indian officials have been denied Canadian visas. In response to a question regarding denial of visa to an Indian by the Canadian High Commission, the Official Spokesperson said that the matter has come to the attention of Ministry of External Affairs and has been taken up appropriately with the Canadian side. 

External Affairs Minister, S.M.Krishna, has said that Canada’s decision to deny visas to Indian security men is “unacceptable” adding that the Canadians have been told of India’s views. 

“We have conveyed to the Canadian government that the letters issued by their High Commission to serving or retired officers who had applied for Canadian visa are entirely unacceptable. We expect the Canadians to address the situation,” he said.  

The Indian government is already furious over the repeated denial of visas to Indian officers. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already given Canada a week to respond and take corrective action. 

There has been  blatant discrimination in granting visas to serving and retired officials of India and it is alleged by the Foreign Ministry that the number of officers denied visa by Canada is now in double digits. 

The grounds for denial have ranged from human rights violation to terrorism and the Home Ministry has expressed strong objection. India, the sources say, believes these are spurious and insulting grounds. 

India on Thursday has warned Ottawa that it will take ‘appropriate’ retaliatory action if this visa row is not sorted out by them in a couple of days. 

More instances have come to light regarding denial of visa to Indian officials by the Canadian Government. These include three serving Army officers, a former Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen (retd) AS Bahia, former Army Commander Lt Gen (retd) OP Nandrajog, former Intelligence Bureau officer SS Sidhu, who was denied a visa in March this year despite two earlier visits and retired BSF head constable Fateh Singh Pandher. 

Denial of visas to officials of the Armed Forces and the BSF is no trivial issue. These men are no hoodlums working for some titbit organisations, but are responsible officials of the Defense arm of the Indian Government working directly under instructions from North Block, New Delhi.

A member of the Prime Minister’s advance security liaison team was initially denied visa. The PM is scheduled to visit Canada in late June to attend the G-20 summit. 

This is not an isolated incident. More and more cases are now emerging of officers being denied visas by Canada. 

Canada says it can deny visas to those who have worked for organizations  which are guilty of human rights violations. 

Canada has denied visas to Indians officials on the following considerations :- 

Being a member of an organisation that engages in terrorism, espionage or subversive activities, and engaging in terrorism or act of espionage. 

Being a danger to the security of Canada and its people.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier reacted sharply to the denial of a visa to the retired BSF head constable Pandher. Sources say the ministry is now likely to take up the other cases that are emerging with Canada.

G.K.Pillai, Home Secretary said that “We have written to to the External Affairs Ministry about it. If the Canadians don’t respond, we will take retaliator action”. Asked whether the Canadians would also be denied visas, Pilla said, “Lets see It all depends on how they respond”. He did not specify the measures proposed to be taken against the Canadians. 

One way possibly, could be to deny visas to Canadian officials who go to Afghanistan via India. 

Indian Government expects the Canadians to apologise and take action against the erring officials.

Ravi Matah.

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