Timeline of recent tensions between Canada and India

OTTAWA — Canada and India have not had a perfect relationship, and issues over Sikh separatism have continue to simmer for decades.

But tensions hit a boiling point in the past year.

Here’s a timeline of the diplomatic row.

June 2023

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser calls out India as being among the top sources of foreign interference in Canada, a public designation Ottawa had largely limited to authoritarian states.

Two weeks later, Sikh community leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar is shot dead outside his gurdwara in Surrey, B.C., where congregants decried a politically motivated attack.

Nijjar’s death leads to heated protests against Indian officials throughout the summer.

The group Sikhs for Justice calls for people to "besiege" consulates and offers cash rewards for the home addresses of Indian diplomats.

September 2023

There is visible tension in New Delhi between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is hosting the G20 leaders’ summit.

A week later, Trudeau reveals Canadian intelligence agencies are "pursuing credible allegations of a potential link" between India’s government and Nijjar’s death.

India restricts visas for Canadians, ahead of the country’s wedding season, before ultimately restoring access in November.

New Delhi cites safety concerns about its diplomats, despite Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma saying weeks before that he had no such concerns.

October 2023

India cancels diplomatic immunity for 41 diplomats and protection for their relatives.

That effectively forces two−thirds of Canada’s diplomats in the country to be sent home.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly decries the move but pledges to hold further conversations with India in private.

November 2023

A New York court unseals an indictment alleging a foiled murder−for−hire plot led by an Indian diplomat against a Sikh extremist earlier that year.

American officials alleged three other assassinations were being pondered in Canada, including that of Nijjar.

January 2024

The independent inquiry into foreign interference asks Ottawa to share information about possible meddling by India in Canadian elections.

New Delhi rejects the inference it is behind any such acts, and repeats its longstanding view that Canada allows Sikh separatists to intervene in its affairs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press