Outrage on visa denial issue but Canada mum
New Delhi: Amid an outrage over its
denunciation of Indian security forces and intelligence
establishment, the Canadian government chose to remain mum.
Canadian diplomats here did not take phone calls of
journalists while emails sent to their headquarters in Ottawa
resulted in pass-the-buck attitude with their Foreign Ministry
saying the query should be addressed to the Interior Ministry.
The Interior Ministry did not respond to an email.
The stony silence by the Canadian government came even
as the Home Ministry is pushing the External Affairs Ministry
to adopt a tough line over the issue and political parties
reacted with outrage over Canada's behaviour.
The Canadian High Commission, over the last few years,
has denied visas to a number of senior serving and retired
officials of the armed forces and intelligence establishment,
claiming that their organisations or they themselves have
served in sensitive areas like Jammu and Kashmir and engaged
in violence and human rights violations.
Home Secretary G K Pillai has written a strongly-worded
letter to Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, insisting that the
MEA should act tough and seek apology from the High Commission
and withdrawal of the officials who made the adverse comments
against the security forces, sources said.
The Home Ministry wants the apology and the other action
from the High Commission within a week, warning that there
will otherwise be retaliation and the Canadian officials going
to Afghanistan via India would be denied permission.
External Affairs Ministry sources said it has taken up
the matter with the Canadian High Commission "more than once".
Meanwhile, BJP today accused the Government of following
"a very weak" foreign policy.
"Has India's foreign policy become so weak that a
country like Canada is denying visas to top offficials?.. We
don't need any certificate from Canada on our armed forces but
such incidents show that we are following a very weak foreign
policy," party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
He said that while India was fighting terrorism for
the past several decades, the government was unable to present
its case properly before the world.
NDA convenor and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said, "this
kind of attitude by a country like Canada only goes on to
show that India has become subservient to such countries."
He said, "if the nation is strong then nobody can behave
in such manner with us. There is a need to strengthen India in
front of the world."
Congress also disapproved of the Canadian action.