India-Canada diplomatic standoff: The University of Toronto has sought to reassure the student community and underscored its commitment to support its wellbeing, while also noting that India’s suspension of visa processing will hinder face-to-face connection.
Speaking to PTI, Vice-President International, University of Toronto, Professor Joseph Wong said, “We know that many members of the University of Toronto community are watching relations between the governments of Canada and India with concern.”
“The situation is evolving rapidly, causing uncertainty and stress, and we do not yet have answers to many of the pressing questions it raises,” Prof Joseph said, adding that the varsity is proud to be home to more than 2,400 international students from India.
“We want to assure all impacted members of our community – and in particular international students – that you are welcome here and we are deeply committed to supporting your wellbeing,” he said.
Prof Joseph added that the University is committed to its ‘longstanding partnerships’ in India that support academic collaborations in a wide range of areas and provide invaluable global learning opportunities for its students.
“We look forward to continuing and deepening these relationships, aligned with our mutual goal of making a difference locally and globally. In the short term, the suspension of visa processing for travelers from Canada will hinder face-to-face connection, but we will continue to build these relationships through online interactions,” he told PTI.
He further assured that the university will monitor the impacts of the developing diplomatic tension between India and Canada on the University of Toronto community.
Canada has evacuated the majority of its diplomats working in India to South Asian countries like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore as the deadline to reduce diplomatic staff approaches.
The Indian government had given Ottawa until the October 10 deadline to reduce Canadian diplomatic staff in the country to a level on par with the number of Indian diplomats in Canada.
India has rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case. Trudeau had earlier also said that his country was not “looking to escalate the situation with India” and insisted that Ottawa wants to remain on the ground in New Delhi to help Canadians.
Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The country has said it wants to “work constructively with India” regarding the allegations.
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