Indian company removes notice about visa service suspension for Canadians

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New Delhi (Reuters) – An Indian company on Thursday withdrew a notice about suspension of visa services for Canadian citizens, minutes after stating on its website that the services were suspended following a notice from the Indian mission.

BLS International, an Indian company offering visa facilities, had earlier said the notice from the Indian mission in Canada cited “operational reasons” for suspension of visa services “till further notice”.

India’s foreign ministry spokesperson did not respond to queries about the matter.

Tensions between the two countries escalated earlier this week when Canada said that it was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government categorically rejected Canada’s suspicions that Indian agents had links to the alleged murder.

With both nations expelling diplomats, analysts said India and Canada diplomatic ties have touched their lowest point.

Canada is India’s 17th largest foreign investor, pouring in more than $3.6 billion since 2000, while Canadian portfolio investors have invested billions of dollars in Indian stock and debt markets.

Since 2018, India has been the largest source country for international students in Canada.

In 2022, their number rose 47% to nearly 320,000, accounting for about 40% of total overseas students, the Canadian Bureau of International Education says, which also helps universities and colleges provide a subsidised education to domestic students.

Industry estimates show the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Canada and India could boost two-way trade by as much as $6.5 billion, yielding a GDP gain of $3.8 billion to $5.9 billion for Canada by 2035.

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