India-Canada visa row has less impact on Canada, India suffers more

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The suspension of visa services by India for Canadian citizens has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries, but experts say the impact on Canada is minimal compared to India.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, only 0.4% of Canadian tourists visited India in 2022, while 3.2% of Indian tourists visited Canada in the same year. Canada also received more than 100,000 Indian immigrants and international students in 2022, making India the second-largest source country for newcomers to Canada.

On the other hand, India relies heavily on Canadian exports of pulses, potash, uranium and oilseeds, which amounted to $4.8 billion in 2022. India also benefits from Canadian investments in sectors such as renewable energy, infrastructure and education. The visa suspension could jeopardize these economic ties and hurt India’s growth prospects.

Moreover, the visa suspension could damage India’s image as a democratic and pluralistic country that respects human rights and diversity. Canada has been vocal in its support for the Sikh community, which faces discrimination and persecution in India. Canada has also condemned India’s actions in Kashmir, where it has revoked the region’s autonomy and imposed a security lockdown.

The visa suspension was triggered by Canada’s allegation that India involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June.

India denied the allegation but both countries have expelled each other’s diplomats and suspended trade talks.

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