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Canada Demands 'Secret' Details For Issuing Visa

Apart from heaping “insults” on Indian security and intelligence personnel, the Canadian High Commission in India has been asking for details classified as “secret” from retired and serving defence personnel seeking visas, says a report
PTI June 01, 2010 13:20 IST
PTI
Apart from heaping “insults” on Indian security and intelligence personnel, the Canadian High Commission in India has been asking for details classified as “secret” from retired and serving defence personnel seeking visas, says a report in The Indian Express.  

The details sought by Canada in its visa form are extremely sensitive in nature. Retired and serving personnel from the armed forces are required to provide specific information on operational details like all past postings, names of units, their locations, detailed duties being performed, and the names of superiors.

Going by military law, these details are classified as “secret” and are not to be shared by the personnel concerned. While these details may not by themselves compromise national security in the normal course, vital facts can easily be meshed together to reveal operational details and roles of units based at sensitive locations.

It is learnt that the matter was first raised by the Defence Ministry close to two years ago after the first cases of visa rejection came to light. The Ministry sent a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs apprising it of its concerns; the practice of seeking sensitive details has, however, continued.

Applicants with a military background, both serving and retired, need to fill a special ‘details of military service' form. This highly intrusive form asks for the applicant's past service record, right from the rank and title to the roles the individual performed in the unit. Some of the details sought:

*What formations or units did you serve with? Where were these formations and units located when you served with them, what were their roles and what was your responsibility? What were the dates that you served with these units and formations?

*What was the rank, name and position of your immediate superior within the units or formations that you served? What was the rank, name and position of your immediate superior's commander within those units and formations?

*Did any units that you were a member of conduct operations against belligerents? If so, when and where did these actions take place? Explain your activities during the operations.

*Was your unit involved in interrogating prisoners or suspected belligerents? If so, what were the methods of interrogation and what was your role in the interrogation and what line of questioning did you follow?

*Were you involved in Operation Blue Star?

*Your duties? You must provide detailed descriptions including involvement in arrests, combat, detention, interrogation and support functions.

The depth of details asked by the Canadian authorities has left officers fuming, even putting off a few from visiting friends and relatives in that country. A retired officer who made the form available to The Indian Express, said that he failed to understand what the Canadian authorities would achieve with such details. “It is not as if they can cross-check the details that have been filled in the application form,” he said.

Retired officers said that Canada has never sought such minute details in the past while accepting applications for visas. “It is only in the past 2-3 years that such a detailed form has been made mandatory by Canada,” said an officer.