Visa suspension sparks anxiety amid upcoming celebrations in India – Times of Nation
Amid the looming humanitarian crisis triggered by escalating tensions between India and Canada , largely exacerbated by the actions of pro-Khalistani groups, the current state of affairs has necessitated the Indian government to urgently come up with contingency travel arrangements for people of Indian origin residing in Canada and for the Canadian government to make travel arrangements for the Indian students who have already taken admissions in various universities and colleges in Canada.
Navdeep Suri, the former Ambassador to Egypt, UAE, and High Commissioner to Australia, while underscoring the potential dire consequences of downsizing the diplomatic and consular mission between India and Canada, and concurrently India asking Canada to reciprocate by reducing its mission in India, said, “I believe this could precipitate a humanitarian crisis, particularly given the approaching festive, holiday, and wedding season in India.”
A significant number of the Indian diaspora residing in Canada comprises Punjabis, who often plan visits to their home country in the coming months for various purposes, including attending family weddings, spending quality time with their loved ones, embarking on religious pilgrimages like paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, and even considering property investments but the current disruption in visa services would have a major impact on their plans.
Suri said that with the absence of emergency travel options and considering that a significant population of people of Indian origin residing in Canada don’t possess Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards, the situation was indeed fraught with challenges and uncertainties.
Navdeep Suri said that despite the Indian government and its embassies making repeated appeals, a significant number of individuals of Indian origin holding foreign passports were yet to obtain OCI cards, which could significantly ease their travel and stay in India during times of disruptions and challenges like the current situation.
He opined that while the Indian government has expressed its dissatisfaction over the unfriendly activities of Canada, there could be emergencies or legitimate and urgent travel requirements that need to be addressed, creating a travel channel.
He also mentioned that Canadian companies who have invested in India would be in a difficult spot under the present regime.
Suri raised another major concern for young students traveling to Canada for studies, especially when their parents have spent their life savings to get them into Canada for studies. “The Canadian mission staff could say they don’t have enough people to process their applications,” he said.
Meanwhile, travel agents here informed that a large number of Punjabis living in Canada had booked air tickets in advance. However, under the present circumstances, they were in a tight spot since they wouldn’t get visas to travel to India following suspension of visa services.
Akash Joshi of A One Travels informed that peak season for the Indians living in Canada to travel back to their homes was from November till January, and over 90 % of them had booked their tickets in advance. ‘Majority of these tickets are non-refundable and in case they didn’t get visas they will suffer a lot,” he said.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a timesofindia.indiatimes.com feed.)
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