Canada Names India As ‘Foreign Threat’ In Elections

Ottawa: Canada has named India as a ‘foreign threat’ that could potentially interfere in their elections, months after they alleged Delhi’s role in the killing of a Khalistani terrorist on their soil. The Indian government is yet to react to the fresh allegation.

The allegation was made by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in a declassified intelligence report – accessed by Global News.

This is the latest in a series of allegations and counter-allegations that erupted last year with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claiming Indian role in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar – which India denied.

The 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.

Foreign interference is different from traditional diplomacy since it used secrecy and deception to influence public narratives and policy-making, Global News cited the report as saying.

This is the first time Canada has accused India of election meddling, a charge that China and Russia already face. A ‘Briefing to the Minister of Democratic Institutions on Foreign Interference’ in February last year referred to China as “by far the most significant threat.”

“We know that the PRC sought to clandestinely and deceptively influence the 2019 and 2021 federal elections,” it quoted the report, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

The parts of the document made public names no country, but other materials name India and China as top threats, the media said. It said foreign interference harms Canada and Canadians “by eroding sovereignty, democratic processes and values.”

“FI (foreign interference) activities incrementally weaken the fabric of Canadian democracy, subtly diminish the hard-won social cohesion of a multicultural society, and impinge on the Charter rights of Canadians,” it said.

The Canadian Prime Minister has ordered an enquiry into the charges.

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.

A week after that, Trudeau made the explosive charge that “Indian government agents” could be behind the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and a wanted terrorist in India, outside a gurdwara in Surrey in June. India rejected the allegation as “absurd”.

Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

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