India has told Canada to withdraw over 40 diplomatic staff from the country, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

This comes amid escalating diplomatic tensions between the two countries. Relations between New Delhi and Ottawa had been growing increasingly strained in recent years but they were pushed to a new low after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged on September 18 that Indian agents were involved in Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s assassination near Vancouver in June.

New Delhi dismissed the allegation as “absurd” and “politically driven”.

Now, it has told Ottawa that 40 of its diplomatic staff must leave by October 10, the Financial Times reported. The Indian government has threatened to revoke diplomatic immunity of the diplomats who remain in the country beyond the deadline. “Diplomatic immunity” are the exemptions that diplomats enjoy from certain laws in the country they work in.

New Delhi had said last month that it wanted “parity” in numbers and ranks of diplomats posted in both countries.

“Yes, we have informed the Canadian government that there should be parity in strength and rank equivalence in our diplomatic presence, in mutual diplomatic presence,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on September 21. “Numbers here are very much higher than ours in Canada. The details of this are being worked out, but I assume there will be a reduction from the Canadian side.”

After publicly accusing India of being involved in Nijjar’s assasssination, Trudeau’s government had expelled India’s intelligence chief from the country. New Delhi reciprocated by expelling a Canadian diplomat and suspended visas for Canadians.

Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was one of India’s most wanted persons. He led the Khalistan Tiger Force, which India has designated a terrorist group. In recent years, India has accused Canada of being soft on the supporters of Khalistan, an independent Sikh nation that some Sikhs hope to establish in northwestern India.

Also read: Allegations of Khalistani separatist’s assassination signal a collapse in India-Canada ties