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Canada has Indian diplomats’ communications in Sikh leader’s murder probe: Report

Ottawa: The Canadian government has collected both human and signals intelligence in a months-long investigation of a Sikh activist’s murder, which it has said was done by India.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the unprecedented tensions flared up on Monday after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa was actively pursuing credible allegations linking Indian government agents to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia in June.

The two countries, whose relations have been fraying in recent years over the issue of Khalistan Referendum, have since announced tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats and issued tit-for-tat travel advisories.

Traditional Canadian allies have so far taken a relatively cautious approach to the matter. Analysts say this is partly because the US and other major players see India as a counterweight to the growing influence of China.

Today, quoting Canadian government sources, CBC News said the “intelligence includes communications involving Indian officials themselves, including Indian diplomats present in Canada”.

It added that the intelligence “did not come solely from Canada” and some was also provided by “an unnamed ally in the Five Eyes” alliance – an intelligence-sharing network that includes the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Canadian publication maintained that the slain Sikh leader reportedly had been warned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that he was at risk.

The report further said that in a diplomatic crisis that unfolded progressively behind the scenes, Canadian officials went to India on several occasions seeking cooperation in the investigation of Nijjar’s death.

CBC News said Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Adviser Jody Thomas was in India over four days in mid-August. Another five-day visit this month overlapped with a “tense meeting” between the two countries’ Prime Ministers, it added.

The report quoted Canadian sources as saying: “When pressed behind closed doors, no Indian official has denied the bombshell allegation at the core of this case – that there is evidence to suggest Indian government involvement in the assassination of a Canadian citizen in Canada.”

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