Canadian spy and station chief of the country's Intelligence Service is set to leave India on Friday, sources revealed, days after his expulsion was announced by New Delhi in a tit-for-tat move against Ottawa following Justin Trudeau's explosive allegations over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Sylvester was given a five-day deadline on Monday to leave India, but he is likely to leave today, said sources. His expulsion comes after diplomatic tensions emanating from Trudeau's allegations and the expulsion of an Indian diplomat in Canada.
"The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and informed about the decision of the Government of India to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India," said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement on Tuesday.
The decision was made to reflect India's concerns over the interference of Canadian diplomats in internal matters and their involvement in activities aimed against India.
On Monday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly's Office had announced that Pavan Kumar Rai, the head of India's intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Canada has been expelled as a consequence, citing a threat to the country's sovereignty.
The story so far
Tensions between India and Canada increased dramatically after Justin Trudeau on Monday accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Khalistani terrorist was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
Nijjar was designated a wanted terrorist by India's National Investigation Agency (NIA). Trudeau's allegations against India were sharply rejected by New Delhi as "absurd" and "motivated". The diplomatic standoff escalated when India suspended visa services for Canadian nationals and called for reduction in Canadian diplomats over the security situation and 'interference' in Indian matters.
The Ministry of External Affairs has raised concerns about the ongoing developments related to the killing of Khalistani terrorists in Ottawa and tagged the allegations as "politically motivated". MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that Canada has not shared any proof of the allegations levelled by Trudeau.
Although India and Canada relations have generally been smooth, the Khalistan issue has long been a point of contention for both sides. Trudeau has long been called out for extending support to known Khalistani terrorists residing in Canada.