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Travel advisory: India urges citizens, international students to be 'cautious' in Canada

The government of India is advising Indian nationals and students living in Canada to be cautious amid what it calls "growing anti-India activities" in the country.

The travel advisory is the latest development in rising tensions between the two countries following allegations from Ottawa that India's government may have been involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader. 

In its advisory, the Indian government warned its citizens of what it described as "growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence."

“Given the deteriorating security environment in Canada, Indian students in particular are advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant,” read the statement.

The relations between Canada and India have been on a decline since a Sikh separatist activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was killed on Canadian soil in June. Nijjar was gunned down by two masked men in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C., where he served as president.

The case remains under investigation by B.C.'s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged India to investigate allegations that New Delhi was involved in the assassination.

India fired back, through a statement, that the allegations were "absurd and motivated."

Besides denying any connection to Nijjar's death, allegations which Trudeau has described as credible, the South Asian country said Canada was trying to shift the focus from Sikh independence, or Khalistan, movement, which is banned in India but has support among the Sikh diaspora.

The travel advisory followed a day after barbs were traded, with India alleging hate crimes and that "recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda."

All Indian citizens and students in Canada were advised by the Indian government to register in the diplomatic offices in Ottawa, Toronto or Vancouver “in the event of any emergency or untoward incident,” read the country’s press release.

On Monday, Global Affairs Canada updated its Travel Advice and Advisories (TAA) to India, but told the update was unrelated to the allegations and fallout surrounding Nijjar's death.

A travel advisory, which has been in place for some time in Canada for those heading to India, states that visitors should “exercise a high degree of caution in India due to the threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country.”

The advisory says to avoid non-essential travel to Assam and Manipur states due to “the risk of terrorism and insurgency," as well as to avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the “unpredictable security situation.”

“No new risk information has been added to the India TAA page,” a spokesperson said Tuesday, adding that any changes were part of a pre-scheduled and routine maintenance in the section on travel health.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press. Top Stories

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