Impact on BLS International Amid Diplomatic Tensions

Impact on BLS International Amid Diplomatic Tensions

In the midst of escalating diplomatic tensions, BLS International, a prominent visa services provider, has taken the unprecedented step of suspending its Indian visa services in Canada with immediate effect, starting from September 21, 2023. This surprising decision was communicated by the company through a filing to stock exchanges on a Thursday.

BLS International Services Limited is a well-known Indian outsourcing service provider specializing in government and diplomatic missions across the globe. Their wide-ranging services include managing visas, passports, consular matters, attestations, and citizen services.

The company's statement clarified that the suspension of Indian visa services in Canada was attributed to "operation reasons" and emphasized that this move would remain in place until further notice. This development carries significant implications, considering the diplomatic situation currently unfolding between India and Canada.

Interestingly, BLS International Services Limited also pointed out that the financial impact of this suspension would be "negligible" for the company. This assertion is grounded in the fact that the Canadian visa issuance business accounts for less than 2 percent of their total annual revenue.

The decision to halt visa services for Indian nationals in Canada came on the heels of an advisory issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India. The advisory urged Indian nationals and students in Canada to exercise caution and vigilance. Specifically, they were advised to avoid traveling to regions and venues in Canada that have witnessed a rise in anti-India activities.

Impact on BLS International Amid Diplomatic Tensions

Indian students in Canada were particularly singled out in the advisory, emphasizing the need for them to exercise extreme caution. This heightened state of alertness was prompted by recent events that have strained the relationship between India and Canada.

The backdrop to these developments includes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement in the Canadian Parliament, where he alleged that the Indian government was involved in the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar, designated as a terrorist in India, was tragically killed outside a Gurdwara in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.

Trudeau went on to assert that Canada's national security officials had reasons to believe that "agents of the Indian government" were behind Nijjar's killing. These allegations were met with swift and strong denial by the Ministry of External Affairs in India, which categorically rejected the statements made by the Canadian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs deemed these allegations "absurd and motivated." This diplomatic standoff has undoubtedly cast a shadow on India-Canada relations, raising questions about the implications for various aspects of cooperation between the two countries, including visa services managed by companies like BLS International.

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