Canada ‘temporarily’ adjusts diplomatic staff in India after social media threats

News Network
September 21, 2023

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New Delhi, Sept 21: Canada's high commission in India said on Thursday that it has decided to temporarily "adjust" staff presence in the country after some diplomats received threats on social media platforms, adding to spiralling tensions between the two countries.

The statement from the high commission came soon after an Indian company published a notice that it was suspending visa services for Canadian citizens following a notice from the Indian mission. It then withdrew it minutes later before re-publishing it again.

BLS International, an Indian company offering visa facilities, said on Wednesday the notice from the Indian mission in Canada cited "operational reasons" for suspension of visa services "till further notice".

Spokespersons for the Canadian high commission and the Indian foreign ministry did not respond to queries on the two developments.

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 a diplomat each, analysts said relations between the two countries have touched the lowest point.

"In light of the current environment where tensions have heightened, we are taking action to ensure the safety of our diplomats," the Canadian high commission said in a statement.

"With some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms, Global Affairs Canada is assessing its staff complement in India," it said, referring to the Canadian government department which manages Ottawa's diplomatic and consular relations.

"As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India," it said, without elaborating on what it meant by adjusting staff presence.

"In the context of respect for obligations under the Vienna conventions, we expect India to provide for the security of our accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, just as we are for theirs here."

After the tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats, the two countries issued tit-for-tat travel advisories on Tuesday and Wednesday, with India urging its nationals in Canada, especially students, to exercise "utmost caution".

THREAT TO TRADE TIES

The tensions were sparked on Monday after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa was investigating "credible allegations" about the potential involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

Canadian officials have so far declined to say why they believe India could be linked to Nijjar's murder.

New Delhi has also not provided evidence or details of specific incidents leading to its travel advisory that refers to "growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada".

Canada is a safe country, its public safety minister Dominic LeBlanc said hours after India's advisory.

Canada has the largest population of Sikhs outside the Indian state of Punjab, with about 770,000 people reporting Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census.

Some Indian analysts say Ottawa does not curb Sikh protesters as they are a politically influential group.

The spat is also threatening trade ties, with talks on a proposed trade deal frozen last week.

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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coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

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Mangaluru: Two athletes from Mangaluru are gearing up to represent India at the Paris Olympics starting on July 26. Poovamma MR, a seasoned member of the Indian women’s 4x400m relay team, and Mijo Chacko Kurian, selected for the men’s 4x400m relay team, are poised to showcase their talent on the international stage.

Poovamma MR had a notable moment recently, marking her third interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reflecting on her journey, she shared with the Prime Minister that she was just 18 when she served as a reserve member for the 2008 Olympics and was part of the team again in 2016. 

Determined to break a longstanding barrier, she mentioned that the team hadn't reached the finals since 2002, but this time, they aim to create a national record and secure a spot in the finals. The Prime Minister commended her confidence and dedication.

“This was my third interaction with the PM. I met him in 2014 and 2018. Earlier, we showed him our medals, and he congratulated us. This time, he asked us questions about our experiences and aspirations. It felt wonderful,” Poovamma remarked. Currently training in Patiala, she is set to depart for a 20-day training camp in Poland before heading to Paris.

In contrast, Mijo Chacko Kurian is making his Olympic debut. His journey began in class XII when he switched from cricket to athletics upon seeing runners at the NMPT stadium while Mangala Stadium was under renovation. 

Living nearby, he approached the coach and joined the training sessions. Despite initial struggles, he balanced his studies in engineering with his growing passion for athletics. His dedication paid off, leading him to leave college after two-and-a-half years to focus fully on his athletic career. Now a junior warrant officer with the Indian Air Force, Mijo is ready to make his mark in Paris.

As these athletes prepare for their Olympic journey, their stories of perseverance and dedication inspire many back home, highlighting the vibrant sporting spirit of Mangaluru.

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coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka Lokayukta on Thursday, July 11, morning raided 56 locations across nine districts in connection with 11 disproportionate asset cases.

The raids are underway at two locations in Chitradurga and Davanagere, and one each in Kalaburagi, Mandya, Dharwad, Belagavi, Kolar, Mysuru, and Hassan. The officials have raided the properties of 11 government officials, including two retired government employees.

Properties related to Basavaraj Magi, Revenue Officer, BBMP (Kengeri Zone); Shivaraju S, retired executive officer from Mandya; M Ravindra, retired chief engineer at Minor Irrigation Department; Shekar Gowda, Project Director; DH Umesh, Executive Engineer; and MS Prabhakar, Assistant Executive Engineer.

Simultaneously, the Lokayukta officials are conducting raids at the properties of Vijianna, Tahsildar; Mahesh K, superintendent engineer; NM Jagadish, grade 1 secretary; and KG Jagadish, superintendent engineer.

A well-placed officer at the Lokayukta said that they had taken up DA cases even before the raids. They had done the background work to list all the properties linked to officials on whom raids are underway.

The raids are a joint operation of the Karnataka Lokayukta wing and the police wing of the anti-corruption watchdog. The Superintendents of Police (SP) with the Karnataka Lokayukta in the respective districts are supervising the ongoing raids, and over 100 officers are aiding them.

This is the third such massive raid Lokayukta has taken up this year.

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News Network
July 6,2024

Mangaluru: Amid a spike in dengue cases in Karnataka, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao launched an awareness campaign in this district headquarters town of Dakshina Kannada to eliminate breeding sites of Aedes mosquito that causes the vector borne disease.

He conducted a house-to-house inspection in parts of the city along with health workers and checked breeding areas of Aedes mosquitoes.

Rao, who is also district in-charge Minister, inspected places where Aedes mosquito larvae were produced in water stagnated in coconut shells, tubs and tyres and observed the measures being taken by Health Department staff to destroy them.

He advised the local residents to be vigilant.

Speaking to reporters later, the Minister said the Department has launched a campaign to destroy breeding sites of Aedes mosquitoes every Friday for dengue control and urged the public to extend their cooperation.

Health workers are engaged in creating awareness among people. People need to ensure that water does not stagnate in places around their houses. Aedes mosquito breeding sites are being identified and destroyed, he said.

"It has been suggested to identify hot spots where dengue fever is more common and open fever clinics. It is advised to conduct dengue testing on people with fever, who come from those regions where dengue is prevalent and provide treatment. This can prevent deaths," Rao said.

The Minister also said his Department along with the Rural Development Department, district administration, local Corporation officials and teachers have been engaged in efforts to control dengue.

According to the data shared by the Health Department, total positive dengue cases reported in the State since January till July 4 was 6,676 and out of these, total active cases were 695. Dengue has claimed six lives in the state in the current calendar year.

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