Diplomatic relations between India and Canada continue to devolve, as the two countries – who were on the cusp of bilateral a trade agreement just months ago – now routinely trade harsh accusations of foreign interference.
Public signs about this spat arose in New Delhi during the G20 summit, when the bilateral meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Justin Trudeau went awfully wrong – and to top it off the fuming Canadian delegation had to spend an extra day in India after their plane broke down.
From then on, things went downhill.
Yesterday, (8) India released a ‘strongly worded statement’ rejecting allegations of election interference in Canada.
Delhi alleged it is instead Canada that has been ‘interfering in our internal affairs’.
A declassified Canadian intelligence report names India as a ‘foreign threat’ potentially interfering in their elections.
This comes months after Trudeau publicly accused India of killing a Khalistani terrorist on Canadian soil.
“‘We have seen media reports about a Canadian commission inquiring into foreign interference… We strongly reject such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections. It is not India’s policy to interfere in the democratic process of other countries’, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told reporters today.
‘In fact, it’s quite the reverse. It is Canada that has been interfering in our internal affairs. We have been raising this issue regularly with them. We continue to call on Canada to take effective measures to address our core concerns’, Mr Jaiswal said.
The back and forth allegations are not only tiresome to the observer, but signal the lack of political will to work on the issues.
Now, with this new intel document, the situation has every potential to deteriorate.
“The declassified October 2022 report titled ‘Foreign Interference and Elections: A National Security Assessment’ called India a ‘threat’ and warned that foreign interference was weakening Canada’s democracy.”
The document makes similar allegations against China and Russia, with China identified as ‘by far the most significant threat’.
“Tensions had been brewing between India and Canada since Prime Minister Narendra Modi scolded Justin Trudeau over rising secessionist activities in his country, during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of G20 summit in Delhi last year.”
After that, Trudeau came out with the explosive charge that ‘Indian government agents’ would be behind the shooting of terrorist Nijjar, who was a Canadian citizen.
The newly declassified document on foreign interference swaying Canadian elections is a result of an inquiry that Trudeau ordered after media reports flagged rampant Chinese activity.
“Canadian Security Intelligence Service‘s declassified document to Canadian government shows that the authorities had marked India as a ‘foreign interference threat’ that could potentially interfere in Canadian elections.
The Canadian intelligence agency report mentions ‘India engages in Foreign Interference activities’. According to a report by Global News, that accessed the declassified documents, almost three pages of the report were devoted to India, although they were entirely redacted except for a single sentence that claimed India engages in Foreign Interference activities.
The Canadian intelligence report points to the need for ‘clearly articulated strategies’, and said raising awareness and briefing officials and politicians was ‘central to these efforts’.”
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