India, Pakistan attempted to ‘interfere’ in Canada's polls, alleges Canadian spy agency | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India, Pakistan attempted to ‘interfere’ in Canada's polls, alleges Canadian spy agency

Apr 06, 2024 11:31 AM IST

Canada's spy agency alleged that countries like India and Pakistan attempted to interfere in the country's elections in 2019 and 2021.

The Canadian spy agency has alleged that India and Pakistan had tried to “interfere” in Canada's federal elections in the 2019 and 2021 general elections, according to a media report on Friday.

Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal (Screengrab)
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal (Screengrab)

An unclassified summary by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) alleging the interference was tabled as part of the Federal Commission of Inquiry examining possible meddling by China, India, Russia and others in the 2019 and 2021 elections.

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In February, the Indian government strongly rejected as "baseless" allegations of its interference in Canadian elections and asserted that the core issue has been Ottawa's meddling in New Delhi's internal affairs.

"We have seen media reports about the Canadian commission enquiring into ...We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections," external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal had said on February 8 in New Delhi.

Read more: Canada’s spy agency says Pakistan interfered in country’s political process

During a press briefing in February, Jaiswal said, “We have seen media reports about the Canadian commission enquiring into ...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 on the reverse, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs,” he added.

What did the CSIS report say?

A document by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that the Federal Commission of Inquiry is examining the possible interference of foreign nations like India, Pakistan, China and Russia in the country's elections in 2019 and 2021.

Read more: ‘Controversial motion moved by MP may cause irreparable damage to India-Canada ties’

In 2021, the government of India had "intent to interfere and likely conducted clandestine activities," including using an Indian government proxy agent in Canada, the CSIS alleged in the documents.

The Canadian spy agency further alleged that the Indian government in 2021 ran foreign interference activities that "were centred on a small number of electoral districts."

The Indian government targeted those ridings because there was a perception by India that "a portion of Indo-Canadian voters were sympathetic to the Khalistani movement or pro-Pakistan political stances," the CSIS document said.

Read more: Surge in temporary immigrants beyond Canada’s capacity to ‘absorb’: Trudeau

The CSIS has amassed "a body of intelligence" that indicates a government of India "proxy agent may have attempted to interfere in democratic processes" by providing illegal financial support to pro-Indian candidates, the document said.

However, CSIS director David Vigneault told the inquiry that the allegations mentioned in the report should not be considered facts, and require further investigation. The information mentioned in the report appears to be uncorroborated, single-sourced or incomplete, the inquiry said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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