Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Monday said that New Delhi expects foreign governments to take action against those who were involved in attacks on Indian diplomatic offices last year, in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

The Indian consulate in San Francisco, United States, was vandalised in July. In March, the Indian High Commission in London was attacked during a pro-Khalistan protest. Similar protests were held in March outside the Indian embassy in Ottawa, which suffered a security breach, and the Consulate General of India in Vancouver.

Jaishankar also said that India stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens in September because Indian diplomats stationed there were being repeatedly “threatened and intimidated” and were “not safe going to work”.

“Our diplomats were….intimidated in many ways and we got very little comfort from the Canadian system that time,” Jaishankar said, adding that relations between the two countries have improved since then. The minister was speaking at an event organised by the television news channel TV9 Network.

In September, India temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens, days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian government agents were involved in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.

India has rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd and motivated”. The issuance of visas in Canada was resumed weeks later.

“We reached a stage when as a minister, I could not risk exposing the diplomats to the kind of violence which was very clearly prevalent in Canada at that time,” Jaishankar said. “That part of it has been rectified. Today, our visa operations are pretty much normal.”

The minister said that a “core issue” between the two countries is that Canada has allowed space to separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements to operate.

“Freedom of speech cannot extend to intimidating diplomats who are doing their duty,” Jaishankar said. “Throwing smoke bombs at embassies and consulates, advocating violence and separatism against a friendly state is not freedom of speech. This is misuse of freedom of speech.”