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Canada sought Tuesday to maintain its full diplomatic presence in India, after New Delhi reportedly ordered Ottawa to withdraw 40 diplomats in a dispute over the killing of a Sikh separatist.

Relations between Delhi and Ottawa deteriorated sharply two weeks ago when Canada raised the possibility of Indian government involvement in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar near Vancouver in June.

"In moments of tensions, because indeed there are tensions between both our governments, more than ever it's important that diplomats be on the ground," foreign minister Melanie Joly told reporters.

"And that's why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India."


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