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India Canada student numbers recover as row quietens

The diplomatic row which sparked a tense standoff between India and Canada appears to be settling down, with agents saying Indian student numbers are already recovering. 

Before the row began, Modi chose not to hold a bilateral meeting with Trudeau at the G20 summit. Photo: Unsplash

The sector has been keeping a close eye on diplomacy relations

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau initiated what has been a tense few weeks between the two countries when he said there was “credible evidence” India may have been involved in the killing of Sikh Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Indian PM Narendra Modi denied the allegation, saying it was “absurd”. 

The international education sector has been keeping a close eye on relations between the two countries in the weeks since Trudeau’s speech on September 19, in case of possible ramifications for student. 

It seems, for now, these worries may be quelled.

“It’s been quiet. I’ve talked to students who are presently in Canada saying they don’t even know anything about this,” Sushil Sukhwani, CEO of Edwise International, told The PIE News. 

Sukhwani said that while there had been a slight dip in interest from Indian students in Canada, the numbers have now returned to 75% of what they were. 

According to the Financial Times, talks are continuing in between Canada and India about the 41 Canadian diplomats who were given a deadline of October 10 to leave India. The officials remain in the country, and have reportedly not been told to leave by the Canadian government yet. 

“It is more of a drawing room discussion rather than a deep concern”

The countries’ foreign ministers had reportedly been trying to “resolve the situation in private” in early October, but no further official updates have been given from either country’s foreign office. 

Reuters reported that recent talks between UK PM Rishi Sunak and Trudeau have taken place about the row, and that Sunak “reaffirmed the UK’s position that all countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law, including the principles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”, according to a government spokesperson.

India hasn’t resumed issuing visas to Canadians, but Sonya Singh, founder and managing director at the agency SIEC Pty Ltd, said students are still applying to study in Canada and visas are being issued the other way. 

“The next major intake for Canadian institutions is September 2024 and by that time diplomacy would have prevailed. At this stage in India it is more of a drawing room discussion rather than a deep concern.

“Canada has a very deep immigration history with India that goes back to the 1800s – and the first migrants were the Sikh community. They are well established and have political clout that is being exploited by some vested interests in India and in Canada. 

“The opinion is that once the Indian and the Canadian elections are over next year, this will be history,” Singh predicted.

That enduring relationship was also mentioned by Abhijit Zaveri, founder and director of Career Mosaic, who said such matters arise “from time to time”. 

“In the current situation, it is essential to remember that both nations share a longstanding and robust relationship as India is one of the top five sources of migrants to Canada.

“Diplomatic issues arise from time to time, and it is not uncommon for such matters to be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.

“It’s crucial to maintain a positive outlook”

“While the temporary suspension of visa services may present challenges, it is crucial to maintain flexibility and consider alternative plans if necessary,” he told The PIE.

He said there may be a “temporary fluctuation” in terms of student demand, but it shouldn’t be a worry to any providers. 

“Canada remains a sought-after destination for Indian students, and the appeal of its educational institutions remains strong.

“In times like these, it’s crucial to maintain a positive outlook, trust in the strength of the bilateral relationship, and be prepared for any necessary adjustments. We firmly believe that both nations will work towards a resolution that benefits all stakeholders,” Zaveri said.

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5 Responses to India Canada student numbers recover as row quietens

  1. I feel both the countries should come forward to end the position remained now considering sovereigns of these two countries with well behavior and also interests of the students of Indians studying in the Universities of Canada bilatriel trading between these two countries.The peace and health of the people concerned is most important in the worldwide. Hence both the countries should resolve all the problems that are being with held, amicably with sense and not egoism.

  2. Hello, we are already booked tickets for india January 2024.we worried don’t get visa, we don’t know what we do. Government will have to do something.

  3. I am one of the students who applied for a Canadian university. I am no longer going to pay Canada to get my education, given its role in destabilizing my home country.

  4. Hope to get the present position of visa issuing matter to solved quite quickly for the Indian students & others from Canada to India back .

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