22 October 2023, Mumbai: In a recent diplomatic development, Canada has made the decision to withdraw 41 of its diplomats in response to India’s request for “parity” in their diplomatic representation. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, addressing this matter, cited “continuous interference” by Canadian personnel in Indian affairs as the primary concern behind this request.
The Notion of Parity
Jaishankar pointed out the concept of parity as a central principle within the Vienna Convention, the international rule governing diplomatic relations. This convention prescribes the balance between the number of diplomats representing two countries. India’s decision to invoke parity stemmed from its growing unease with the perceived interference by Canadian diplomats, which had been largely kept from the public eye.
Escalation of Tensions Between India and Canada
Tensions between India and Canada have escalated since the Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced the recall of 41 diplomats. This action was taken just one day before India’s specified deadline, and the failure to comply would have resulted in the loss of diplomatic immunity for those personnel.
New Delhi’s position was clear in its demand for a reduction in Canada’s diplomatic presence from 62 to 21, seeking equilibrium. In response, Prime Minister Trudeau accused India of violating the Geneva Convention by unilaterally revoking the diplomatic immunity of 40 Canadian diplomats in India. He went on to emphasize that such actions disregard the principles of the Vienna Convention that govern international diplomacy.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement extended to allegations of a grave violation of international law, stemming from the alleged killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, with suspicions of Indian government involvement. This complex situation raises significant concerns on a global scale, emphasizing the importance of adhering to international diplomatic norms.
In this intricate scenario, the idea of diplomatic parity takes center stage, highlighting the delicate nature of international relations. The concerns expressed by India regarding alleged interference by Canadian diplomats underscore the need for nations to uphold diplomatic rules and conventions while ensuring the sovereignty and security of their own affairs. As the world watches, the unfolding diplomatic exchange between India and Canada brings to light the complexities and challenges that nations face in maintaining healthy diplomatic relations in an ever-evolving global landscape.
By Yashika Desai