A 'tit for tat' move? Canada’s travel advisory for India explained

The Canadian government has asked its nationals to avoid travelling to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. The advisory comes a week after India cautioned its citizens flying to Canada citing a 'sharp increase in incidents of hate crime, sectarian violence, and anti-India activities'

FP Explainers September 30, 2022 14:12:48 IST
A 'tit for tat' move? Canada’s travel advisory for India explained

Canada's travel advisory asks its citizens to stay away from 'areas within 10 km of the border with Pakistan' in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. PTI (Representational Image)

Canada has asked its citizens to avoid travelling to “areas within 10 km of the border with Pakistan” in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab.

The North American country’s travel advisory for these three states comes a week after India cautioned its nationals flying to Canada to remain vigilant citing “sharp increase in incidents of hate crime, sectarian violence, and anti-India activities”.

After some media reports claimed it was a ‘tit for tat’ move by Ottawa, the Canadian High Commission clarified that no new updates have been made to the ‘risk level’ and ‘safety and security’ sections of the travel advisory for India, reported The Hindu.

What does Canada’s travel advisory say? Why has India cautioned its nationals visiting the North American nation?

Let’s understand in detail:

Canada’s travel advisory

Citing the “presence of landmines” and “unpredictable security situation”, Canada instructed its nationals to steer clear of the areas bordering Pakistan in the abovementioned Indian states.

“Avoid all travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Pakistan in the following states due to the unpredictable security situation and presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance: Gujarat, Punjab Rajasthan,” ANI cited the advisory, which was updated on 27 September.

However, it excluded the Wagah border crossing in Punjab.

The Canadian citizens have been asked to avoid all travel to Jammu and Kashmir because of the “threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping”.

A tit for tat move Canadas travel advisory for India explained

Canada has asked its citizens not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir citing the ‘threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping’. PTI (Representational Image)

Warning about the alleged “threat of terrorist attacks” across India, the Justin Trudeau-led government urged its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” in the South Asian nation.

Moreover, Canadian nationals have been recommended to avoid unnecessary travel to Assam and Manipur “due to the risk of terrorism and insurgency”.

Canada’s clarification

Canada says the travel advisory for its citizens to avoid going to Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan has “not been recently updated and has been in place for a long period of time,” Times of India reported.

“The information in the ‘risk level’ and ‘safety and security’ sections of the travel advisory has not been recently updated and has been in place for a long period of time, and publicly available,” a High Commission of Canada spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Further, the commission explained that its recent update was regarding only the ‘health’ section.

A tit for tat move Canadas travel advisory for India explained

The Canadian government has clarified its travel advisory for India. AFP File Photo

“The update made on 27 September was related only to the ‘health’ section and more specifically to the ‘COVID-19 and international travel’ and ‘Monkeypox: Advice for travellers’ sub-sections,” the spokesperson said, as per The Hindu.

What was MEA’s advisory?

On 23 September, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued an advisory cautioning its nationals moving to Canada.

“In view of the increasing incidences of crimes as described above, Indian nationals and students from India in Canada and those proceeding to Canada for travel/ education are advised to exercise due caution and remain vigilant,” the Indian government’s advisory stated.

The MEA said it has raised the incidents of “hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities” with Canada and asked for a probe and appropriate action.

“The perpetrators of these crimes have not been brought to justice so far in Canada,” the ministry added.


The central government also asked its nationals in Canada to register with the Indian mission in Ottawa or consulates in Toronto and Vancouver, saying it would “enable the high commission and the consulates general to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any requirement or emergency.”

Tension between India and Canada

The tensions between India and Canada have increased in the wake of an online “referendum” for Khalistan.

The so-called referendum was organised by the pro-Khalistani group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) in Canada’s Brampton on 19 September. Holding the Khalistan flag, the Canadian Sikhs raised anti-India slogans and chanted “Khalistan Zindabad”, reports ThePrint.

ALSO READ: From vandalism of Hindu temple to Khalistan referendum: The growing pro-Khalistan sentiment in Canada

Responding to the referendum, India termed it a “farcical exercise” by “extremist and radical elements”.

India also escalated the matter to Canadian authorities, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on 22 September.

Earlier this month, the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto was defaced with “anti-India” graffiti, PTI reported.

The High Commission of India in Ottawa condemned the attack and called for an investigation into the matter.

“We are deeply anguished by this hate crime that seeks to terrorize the Indian community. It has led to increased concern and insecurity in the Indian community here. We have approached the Canadian government to investigate and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly,” the Indian commission tweeted.

As per ThePrint sources, MEA’s recent travel advisory, which was issued after “anti-India” incidents in the North American nation, was a signal to the Trudeau government for their “lackadaisical approach” towards New Delhi’s continuous requests to “tame” the Khalistani elements that have “given rise to gangsterism”.

The caution note was a “loud and clear” message to Canada which keeps on “relying heavily on these elements for vote bank politics,” sources told ThePrint.

With inputs from agencies

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