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Canada expresses regret, India accepts

Canada on Friday offered an olive branch to India hoping to end a controversy that had threatened to wreck bilateral ties. The Canadian Govt expressed “deep regret” over its High Commission officials making disparaging comments about the BSF and the IB while denying visas to Indian officials. Jayanth Jacob reports.

india Updated: May 29, 2010 01:56 IST
Jayanth Jacob

Canada on Friday offered an olive branch to India hoping to end a controversy that had threatened to wreck bilateral ties.

The Canadian government expressed “deep regret” over its High Commission officials making disparaging comments about the Border Security Force and the Intelligence Bureau while denying visas to Indian officials.

India reacted by saying that the matter was closed.

<b1>In a letter written to the Ministry of External Affairs, Jason Kenney, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism said, “We deeply regret the observations made by the personnel of the Canadian High Commission while offering routine visa refusal letters casting aspersions on the legitimacy of Indian government institutions.”

Kenney made it clear that such "inaccurate" observations did not reflect the policy of the Canadian government.
Kenney’s mollifying letter comes after the MEA summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to India, Joseph Caron, twice on Thursday to send a strong message of protest.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who had asked the North American country to deal with the matter seriously, said, "Considering they have realised their mistake and expressed regrets, we consider the chapter as closed."

The latest provocation from Canada was that a serving IB official, who was to accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his trip to Canada for the G-20 Summit, was denied a visa.

The IB official was granted a visa only after the MEA took up the matter.