India mulls FATF action over Canada's inaction on terror funding amid diplomatic tensions: Report
India is intensifying its efforts to address Canada's perceived inaction against terror funding on its soil, possibly involving the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), amid ongoing diplomatic tensions and a focus on Khalistani elements in Canada.
India is reportedly intensifying its stance against Canada, considering approaching the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to Canada's perceived inaction against terror funding operations within its borders. India has repeatedly shared what it deems "credible and clinching" evidence with Canada concerning this issue, but to no avail. Diplomatic sources revealed to The Sunday Guardian that India plans to compile a dossier of both old and new evidence to present to the FATF, the Paris-based body responsible for combatting money laundering and terror financing.
"Canada acquiescing to India’s demand to reduce its diplomatic strength by 41 is not enough as India’s key concern is about funding and shielding of Khalistanis on Canadian soil,” a source told The Sunday Guardian, adding, “diplomats, security and probe agency officials have been asked to collect relevant evidence to be shared with the FATF."
"The core issue in India’s relationship with Canada is the safe space that terrorists and criminal elements have secured in that country," the source was further quoted as saying.
This recent development highlights India's chief concern and priority in its relations with Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, stated that the core issue in the India-Canada relationship is the sheltering of terrorists and criminal elements in Canada.
"With Canada seeking to divert the focus from the core issue of Khalistani elements having a free run on its soil, India has no other option but to report Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s inaction against pro-Khalistan elements in his country to FATF. India is, therefore, planning to collect evidence of terror funding and financing emanating from Canada and present it to FATF," another person aware of the development told The Sunday Guardian.
According to the report, quoting diplomatic sources, the Trudeau administration is attempting to shift the global community's focus away from the central concern of terrorism by accusing India of escalating tensions and breaching the Vienna Convention in relation to Canadian diplomatic representation.
Canada's attempts to shift the focus from terror activities by accusing India of diplomatic violations and escalation have been met with rejection. India has firmly rejected these allegations and remains resolute in ensuring that the central issue of terror funding on Canadian soil is not sidelined.
India has previously criticised Canada for providing refuge to terrorists, particularly in light of the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The MEA has emphasised that the larger issue revolves around terrorism, its funding, and the safe havens provided to terrorists abroad. "Terrorism is being funded and supported by our western neighbour Pakistan, but the issue of safe havens and places to operate are being provided abroad, including in Canada," Arindam Baghchi said.
According to The Sunday Guardian report, quoting a source, "Now, the Indian government wants the focus to be shifted back to this core issue. Officials have been asked to raise it at every appropriate forum including FATF. In this context, evidence shared with Canada in the past will matter."
During a recent interview with a news channel, Y.C. Modi, the former Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), disclosed that the agency had provided numerous pieces of information about Khalistani militants located in Canada to Ottawa. However, no action was taken by the Trudeau government in response. Officials further note that the Canadian government has not assisted India when attempts were made to repatriate or extradite terrorists or militants from Canada.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) disclosed details of 43 individuals associated with a terror-gangster network linked to Canada on September 20, further straining diplomatic ties between the two nations. India now demands that Canada take action against these individuals if they are present on its soil.
"India would mount pressure on FATF to be tough on Canada in the background of all these details," a source told The Sunday Guardian.
According to the report, Justin Trudeau, frustrated by criticism related to his inability to share specific information about his allegations connecting India to the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, is utilising diplomatic issues as a diversion. His government accused India of violating the Vienna Convention by withdrawing diplomatic immunity from 41 Canadian diplomats, which India strongly rejected, asserting that no international norms were violated and emphasising the need for mutual diplomatic parity.
"We reject any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms," the MEA said, countering Canada’s charge.
"We have seen the Statement by the Government of Canada on 19 October regarding Canadian diplomatic presence in India. The state of our bilateral relations, the much higher number of Canadian diplomats in India, and their continued interference in our internal affairs warrant a parity in mutual diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Ottawa. We have been engaged with the Canadian side on this over the last month in order to work out the details and modalities of its implementation. Our actions in implementing this parity are fully consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which states the following: ‘In the absence of specific agreement as to the size of the mission, the receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the particular mission’," the MEA statement read.