Visa row: Krishna takes on Canada, says response unacceptable

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New Delhi: 
SMKrishnaCanadavisarowstory216.jpg
External Affairs Minister has termed Canada's decision to deny Indian security men visas as "unacceptable". Speaking in Bangalore, the minister said 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. (Read: Why Canada refused visa)

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. (Read: Home Ministry's ultimatum to Canada)

India has alleged discrimination and the Foreign Ministry says 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.

The Home Ministry has not ruled out retaliatory action.

In the latest episode, 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. 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.

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

NDTV has a copy of the letter that the Canadian High Commission wrote to SS Sidhu while denying him a visa. The retired officer was told that he fell in the category of people "inadmissible" on security grounds due to his stint with the Indian Intelligence Bureau.

The grounds include:

  • Engaging in terrorism or act of espionage,
  • Being a danger to the security of Canada and its people,
  • Being a member of an organisation that engages in terrorism, espionage or subversive activities
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.


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