India-Canada Diplomatic Thaw: A Deep Dive into the Vienna Convention and the Nijjar Murder Case

India-Canada Diplomatic Thaw: A Deep Dive into the Vienna Convention and the Nijjar Murder CaseIntroduction

The diplomatic relations between India and Canada have recently been strained due to a series of events1 2 3. The crux of the issue lies in the alleged violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a cornerstone of international diplomacy 4. This controversy has been further complicated by the murder case of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh leader 5.

The Vienna Convention: An Overview

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is a treaty that outlines the framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries 6. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country 6.

Alleged Violation of the Vienna Convention

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that India violated important international law by deciding to unilaterally revoke the diplomatic immunity of 40 Canadian diplomats in India 7. This action, according to Trudeau, is a violation of the Vienna Convention7.

India’s Defense

In response to these allegations, India’s Ministry of External Affairs asserted that ensuring two-way diplomatic parity is fully consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 8 9.

Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention

Article 11.1 states: “In the absence of specific agreement as to the size of the mission, the receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the particular mission”10.

The Nijjar Murder Case: Background Controversy

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a Canadian Sikh leader who was shot and killed by two gunmen in British Columbia in June 2023 5. Following his death, Trudeau claimed that there were “credible allegations” about potential involvement of Indian government agents in Nijjar’s murder11.

Canada’s Steps on Nijjar Murder Case

In response to these allegations, Canada removed an Indian diplomat from his post, causing India to retaliate in kind9. Canada also announced that it was temporarily suspending in-person operations at consulates in several Indian cities and warned of visa processing delays12.

India’s Response on Nijjar Murder Case

India vehemently denied any involvement in Nijjar’s death and called Trudeau’s claims “absurd”13. In addition, India suspended new visas for Canadians and asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country, citing what it called a deteriorating security environment12.

In conclusion, while there are disagreements over interpretations or alleged violations, it is clear that diplomatic conventions like the Vienna Convention play a crucial role in maintaining peaceful international relations. It is hoped that both nations will find a resolution that respects both their interests while upholding international law.

Learn More