Canada says it provided evidence “many weeks ago” of alleged Indian security services’ involvement in the killing of a Sikh activist on its soil as the United States pressed New Delhi to cooperate with an investigation.
More details in the case emerged with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterating Ottawa has credible intelligence linking Indian agents to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen.
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The accusation has prompted an angry reaction from New Delhi, which vehemently denied any involvement.
During a news conference on Friday, Trudeau was asked about the allegations he made publicly and he repeated his call for the Indian government to cooperate.
“We are there to work constructively with India. We hope they engage with us so we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter,” Trudeau said. “Canada has shared the credible allegations that I talked about on Monday with India. We did that many weeks ago.”
Nijjar was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia in June and no arrests have been made.
Bloomberg News reported that Canadian officials shared communications and phone numbers with the Indian government that allegedly link Indian agents to Nijjar’s murder.
India has denied any information was officially shared, and described the accusations as “absurd”.
“No specific information has been shared by Canada on this case, either then or before or after,” said Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
‘We want accountability’
The United States made clear it expected the Indian government to work with Canada.
“We are deeply concerned about the allegations that Prime Minister Trudeau has raised,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters. “It would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability.”
The Canadian government has amassed both human and signals intelligence in a months-long investigation into the Sikh separatist leader’s murder, CBC News reported.
The report said the intelligence included communications of Indian officials present in Canada, adding some of the information was provided by an unidentified ally in the Five Eyes alliance – an intelligence-sharing network that includes the US, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
However, Trudeau has not provided any details about what Canada’s spy agencies have collected, and his office has not confirmed or denied the CBC report.
US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen confirmed “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” informed Trudeau of the possible involvement of Indian agents.
“There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that’s as far as I’m comfortable going,” Cohen told CTV News in an interview to be aired on Sunday.
“If they [the allegations] prove to be true, it is a potentially very serious breach of the rules-based international order in which we like to function.”