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Canada intelligence report claims India involved in election interference

India named alongside China in intelligence report investigating foreign interference in elections

Shweta Sharma
Friday 02 February 2024 15:13 GMT
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FILE: Canada high commissioner to India ‘slams’ car door on reporter

Canada’s national security agency identified India as potentially having interfered in the country’s elections, according to an intelligence report.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service named India in an intelligence report alongside China, which was identified as “by far the most significant threat”.

The briefing report was obtained by Global News. The declassified document dated 24 February 2023 was titled “Briefing to the Minister of Democratic Institutions on Foreign Interference”.

The report said the problem of India’s interference would worsen and said the government “must do more to protect Canada’s robust democratic institutions and processes”.

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau ordered the inquiry into allegations of foreign interference in the country’s 2019 and 2021 elections.

It is the first time India has been accused of election interference in Canada, joining China and Russia that were already suspected of meddling in Canadian politics.

It came amid India and Canada’s worsening ties after Mr Trudeau went public with allegations that New Delhi was involved in the assassination of a Sikh national on Canadian soil. Masked attackers fatally shot Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian labeled a terrorist by India due to his advocacy for an autonomous Sikh state known as Khalistan.

The document obtained by the Canadian broadcaster had three pages for India but were redacted except for a single sentence: “India engages in FI (foreign interference) activities.”

India and China were the only two countries identified by their name in the report.

On China’s role, the report said: “We know that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) sought to clandestinely and deceptively influence the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.”

It said China’s activities “are broad in scope and significant in the level of expended resources” and said its activities are “pervasive, and directed against all levels of government and civil society across the country”.

China has previously denied the allegation and urged Ottawa to “stop hyping up China-related lies and false information”.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said multiple shots were fired on Thursday at the residence of Simranjeet Singh, an aide of Nijjar, who was killed last year. Police said they are investigating the incident.

Moninder Singh, spokesperson for the British Columbia Gurdwaras Council, blamed Indian state actors for their role in the shooting due to Nijjar’s associate’s recent role in organising a protest outside the Indian Consulate, CBC News reported.

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