Growing tensions between Canada and India are being closely watched in the Maritimes.
International development experts say India’s suspension of visa services to Canada will have an impact, but they are divided on the long-term effects of the dispute.
Associate professors at Dalhousie University in Halifax say the pause will disrupt travel, especially before Diwali.
“There is of course a problem for Canadians looking to travel in the coming months,” explains Nissim Mannathukkaren. “This is a problem because if visa services are suspended, they will not be able to travel if they have booked tickets.”
“Many families with ties from across Canada to India, and now their ability to return to India is completely suspended unless they have Indian citizenship,” says Robert Huish.
The two countries are locked in a diplomatic dispute stemming from federal government allegations that India was behind the June 18 k*****g of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Huish fears this puts Indian students on Canadian campuses in a vulnerable position.
“What we need to do is ensure that these communities are supported during this difficult time and, as political tensions rise between the two countries, we remember that this is a tension of government to government,” Huish said. “It’s not about people to people.”
He also worries about your impact on technology.
“Many technology industries in Canada depend on support from India,” says Huish. “There will probably be tensions in that way as well, so we can probably say that in Canada there will be less trade relations with India in the future.”
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Mannathukkaren doesn’t think there’s any cause for alarm.
“There are tensions with China, and China is not necessarily an ally of the Western bloc, but despite that, it’s business as usual in terms of students coming and going from there, or visitors who come from there, and vice versa,” he says. .
The Nova Scotia government is also closely monitoring the situation.
“This is certainly a federal issue and we will continue to monitor the actions of the federal government,” said Advanced Education Minister Brian Wong.
Meanwhile, Huish emphasizes kindness despite turbulent times.
“Nova Scotians need to be very aware that this is a government-to-government battle and it’s not about people,” he said. “Be kind to each other during what is going to be a difficult time.”
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