Canada denies visa to IB officer, grants it later

New Delhi, May 26 (Calcutta Tube) Close on the heels of a retired Border Security Force (BSF) trooper being denied visa, the Canadian High Commission denied the same to an Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer but relented after the Indian home and external affairs ministries did some tough talking.

A deputy director of the IB, who was to visit Canada ahead of the trip of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next month for the G-20 summit, was denied visa on grounds that he was associated with a spy agency, government sources said.

The Canadian High Commission, however, relented after the home ministry wrote a letter to the external affairs ministry protesting the move, sources said.

The home ministry made it clear that if the IB officer was not given visa, Canadian citizens wanting to go to the war-ravaged Afghanistan from India may face similar problems.

Last week, the Canadian High Commission here refused a visa to Fateh Singh Pandher, a retired BSF constable, on grounds that he was associated with a ‘notoriously violent force’.

‘The matter was taken up immediately with the Canadian High Commission,’ Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said here Tuesday.

The denial of visa and the reason given for it triggered an outrage in India, prompting the Canadian authorities to go on a damage control exercise and express ‘great respect for India’s armed forces and related institutions’.

The Canadian High Commission has yet to comment on the incident.

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