Canada Visa Refusal of Indian Defence and Intelligence Officials

The controversy on the visa refusal of the Indian defence and intelligence officers by the Canadian High Commission, New Delhi is taking serious proportions. Caution is required from both sides before matters go out of control. Immediate action is a must on part of the Canadian Government to assuage the feelings of the Indian Government.

There are two different aspects involved here. Firstly, the refusal of a visa on discretionary grounds and secondly, doubting the Indian defence and intelligence agencies. While a country does have a right to control on who enters its borders, reasons for refusal should be more diplomatically mentioned.

However, it is very important for the public at large to not take the developments emotionally. It is best that matters related to management of such affairs be left to respective Governmental agencies. It is to be understood that even the Indian High Commissions located in countries across the world do profiling of visitors intending to come to the nation. Here also, in many instances, visas are refused to individuals on grounds that they feel are relevant. For example, many Chinese executives are refused business visas who are associated with hi-tech and telecommunication companies.

The current issue can also be considered as a result of extreme views that Canada and Canadians hold on Human Rights situation. The main reason is that Canadians never had a direct contact with terrorism and insurgency. On the contrary, the Indian defence deals with these issues on a daily basis. Canadian agencies still remember how the Khalistan movement was dealt by the Indian police and the paramilitary forces. Issues pertaining to the Jammu and Kashmir and the North-east are considered as a violation of the Human Rights by the Canadians.

This is the reality behind the recent refusals and controversies. The Canadian Government needs to change this perspective. They must understand that threats India faces are different and require specific action by the Indian defence forces. In the absence of the required action by them, the very existence of India comes into question. In addition, they are setting a wrong precedent. Will they tomorrow refuse entry to Americans who have been posted in Iraq and Afghanistan or for that matter Guatemala?

Human nature is such that it gets disturbed by negative news and in the process forgets about all the good things that might have happened in the past. One should not forget that over the years, Canada has accepted more legitimate Indian immigrants than any other country in the world. There is a huge Indian Diaspora in Canada of almost one million that gets equal and fair opportunities at par with other Canadians. Indians are doing very well in all spheres of life and that includes Politics and Government. For their interest alone, it is important that the current controversy be not blown out of proportion by all the concerned and handled very carefully. If that is not done, the local Canadian would start looking at the Indian Canadians with the same suspicion as they look at Pakistanis and Sri Lankans. This controversy must end soon.

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