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'BASELESS!' India rubbishes claim of interference in Canada's elections, says Ottawa interferes more often

India refuted allegations by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) of interfering in Canada's elections, denouncing them as baseless. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) dismissed Canada's claims and asserted that Ottawa has historically interfered in Indian affairs. 

India rubbishes claim of interference in Canada's elections, says Ottawa does so more often in Indian internal affairs
First Published Apr 6, 2024, 10:35 AM IST

India has strongly rebutted allegations made by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) accusing it of interference in Canada's elections, labeling the claims as "baseless". The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement refuting Canada's assertions and highlighting what it perceives as Ottawa's past interference in Indian affairs.

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal dismissed the CSIS report's allegations as unfounded and emphasized that the real issue is Canada's historical interference in India's internal matters. 

Jaiswal stated, "We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections. It is not the government of India's policy to interfere in the democratic processes of other countries. In fact, quite the opposite, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs."

The CSIS report under scrutiny by the Federal Commission of Inquiry explores the potential meddling of foreign nations, including India, Pakistan, China, and Russia, in Canada's elections in 2019 and 2021. 

The report alleges that in 2021, the Indian government had the "intent to interfere and likely conducted clandestine activities," including utilizing a proxy agent in Canada. The CSIS further claimed that India focused on specific electoral districts in 2021 due to the belief that some Indo-Canadian voters sympathized with the Khalistani movement or held pro-Pakistan political views. 

The report also suggested that a "proxy agent" of the Indian government may have attempted to interfere by providing illicit financial support to pro-Indian candidates. However, CSIS Director David Vigneault cautioned that the allegations in the report should be subject to further investigation, as the information seems to be uncorroborated or based on incomplete sources.

The latest incident has further strained diplomatic relations between India and Canada. The relations had soured due to the Ottawa molly-coddling pro-Khalistan groups, posing threats to Indian diplomats stationed there and casting doubt on the future of bilateral relations.

The relationship between the two countries were strained when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Indian agents of involvement in a plot to assassinate Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia. India swiftly dismissed these allegations as unfounded.

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in India designated Canada-based gangster and Babbar Khalsa International leader Lakhbir Singh Landa as an "individual terrorist" under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The notification linked Landa to prominent pro-Khalistan figures in Canada, including Sikhs for Justice leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu and Khalistan Tiger Force leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The Khalistan movement is outlawed in India and is considered a significant national security concern, with various associated groups labeled as "terrorist organizations" under the country's Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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