The tension between the two nations has brought about a cloud of uncertainty regarding the prospects of numerous Indian students currently enrolled in Canadian educational institutions.

The diplomatic dispute between India and Canada, sparked by the assassination of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, has raised concerns among Indian families whose loved ones are residing in Canada.

The strained relations between the two countries have created uncertainty for many Indian students who are either studying at various Canadian educational institutions, holding work permits, or actively working towards obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Canada.

HK Kharbanda, a parent from Chandigarh, reflects the shared concerns of numerous Indian families. His son, Rishab, is currently working in Canada. Kharbanda remarked, “Both nations should work towards resolving this dispute as it could worsen the situation for Indian students. There may be delays in visitor and study visas, complicating the PR process. Additionally, this could impact international trade and cause significant financial burdens for Indian families who take loans to send their children abroad for education.”

Parents of students holding Canadian study visas are anxiously seeking information about the potential consequences of the diplomatic standoff.

Veralika Sharma, an immigration law consultant based in Chandigarh, acknowledges the concerns of these parents about their children’s futures. “There is uncertainty regarding whether the ongoing diplomatic dispute will affect immigration. While immigration processes have been proceeding normally, recent developments have left parents concerned. We have advised them not to worry, as there have been no apparent negative effects on immigration and study visas thus far. We hope for improved relations between both countries, as Canada remains a preferred destination for higher education,” reassured Sharma.

Concerned individuals from various backgrounds emphasize the need for a swift resolution to the India-Canada dispute. They stress that the ongoing tensions could have adverse impacts on the educational and career prospects of thousands of Indian students.

K Singh, a resident of Chandigarh, observes, “Indian parents have invested their hard-earned money in sending their children for higher studies in Canada. Not only India but Canada will also be affected if these differences are not resolved.”

According to data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), nearly 40 percent of all international students in Canada are from India. Out of a total of 807,750 international students with valid study permits as of December 31, 2022, an astonishing 319,130 were Indian. Moreover, the Canadian Bureau of International Education reports that Indian students contributed over $4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.

DIPLOMATIC TENSIONS BETWEEN INDIA AND CANADA Diplomatic relations between India and Canada soured after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested potential involvement of Indian agents in the assassination of the Khalistani separatist leader and subsequently expelled an Indian diplomat. In retaliation, India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat. India has refuted all allegations made by Trudeau, describing them as “absurd” and “politically motivated.”

The Indian government has issued a cautionary advisory for its citizens residing in Canada, urging them to exercise the utmost caution due to “growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and violence in Canada.”

“In light of the increasing anti-India activities and politically-endorsed hate crimes and violent incidents in Canada, all Indian nationals residing there and those considering travel are advised to exercise extreme caution,” the advisory states.

The government has also assured that the High Commission/Consulates General will maintain contact with Canadian authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian community in Canada.

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