MEA talks tough on Canada visa denial to Armymen
Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna has taken serious exception to Canada’s denial of visa to Indian security force personnel.
“Canada’s stand on security forces of India was unacceptable. We are proud of our security forces”, he said. The Canadian government had denied visas to senior serving and retired officials of the armed forces and intelligence establishment, alleging that the forces were involved in violence.
Speaking to reporters in Bangalore on Thursday, Krishna said, “We have made our position crystal clear to the Canadian authorities. High Commissioner of Canada Joseph Caron has been called twice to register our protest”, he said.
He said: “We expect the Canadian authorities to address the situation appropriately. The security forces had been functioning within the purview of the Indian constitution. There was no truth in allegations that the security forces were engaged in violence.”
“We have conveyed to the Canadian government that the letter issued by the Canadian High Commission to serving or retired officials of our security forces and agencies who had applied for Canadian visa are entirely unacceptable,” he said.
Asked what next step India contemplated, he said, “Let us wait for the Canadian authorities to address it”.The Home Ministry is pushing the External Affairs Ministry to act tough with Canada over the issue even as political parties reacted with outrage.
Home Secretary G K Pillai has written a strongly-worded letter to Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, insisting that the MEA should act tough and seek apology from the High Commission and withdrawal of the officials who made the adverse comments against the security forces, sources said.
The Home Ministry wants the apology and the other action from the High Commission within a week, warning that there will otherwise be retaliation and the Canadian officials going to Afghanistan via India would be denied permission. “We have written to the MEA, informing them about the whole development,” Pillai said in Delhi.
In Beijing, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the matter was being taken seriously and the Canadian High Commissioner was summoned by Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in the MEA, on Monday to lodge protest.
Political parties expressed outrage over the Canadian behaviour and BJP and JD(U) accused the government of following “a very weak” foreign policy.NDA convenor and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said, “this kind of attitude by a country like Canada only goes on to show that India has become subservient to such countries.”He said, “if the nation is strong then nobody can behave in such manner with us. There is a need to strengthen India in front of the world.”