Nijjar killing: US confirms intelligence sharing by Five Eyes made Canada allege India role

    The Hawk
    September24/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    New York [US]: Wading into the ongoing diplomatic showdown between India and Canada, David Cohen, the US Ambassador to Canada, said it was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that led the Trudeau administration to make the claim of a potential link between “agents” of the Indian government and the killing of separatist Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

    The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set the cat among the pigeons on Monday, claiming that Ottawa had credible intelligence linking Indian agents to the killing of Nijjar in Vancouver.

    India, however, dismissed the allegations calling them “absurd and motivated”.

    “I will say this was a matter of shared intelligence information. 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.

    CTV News is the news division of the CTV Television Network of Canada.

    However, Cohen refrained detailing the type of intelligence shared by the Five Eyes partners with the Canadian government.

    Earlier this week, Trudeau had told reporters that officials had been working closely with intelligence agencies since the summer to “make sure that we had solid grounding in understanding what was going on”.

    On the floor of the Canadian Parliament, Trudeau said any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil represents an unacceptable violation of the country’s sovereignty. He also labelled the alleged killing as contrary to the fundamental rules “by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves”.

    “If 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,” Cohen added in the interview.

    Earlier, on Friday (local time), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” over Trudeau’s allegations of an India hand in the killing of the pro-Khalistan leader Nijjar.

    Saying that the US wants to see accountability in the matter, the envoy said it was “important” that the investigation runs its course and leads to the result”.

    Addressing a press conference in New York City earlier, Blinken said the US has engaged directly with the Indian government, adding that Washington was also consulting “very closely” with Canada and coordinating on the issue. He called it important that India works with the Canadians on the investigation into the killing.

    Meanwhile, addressing a news conference in New York City on Thursday, Trudeau failed to present any evidence to back his claims. The Canadian Prime Minister was repeatedly quizzed on the nature of the allegations but stuck to reiterating that there were “credible reasons” to believe that India was linked to the death of Nijjar.

    A designated terrorist in India, Nijjar was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.

    Both countries expelled each other’s senior diplomats amid escalating tensions and the growing diplomatic standoff.

    India also halted visa services to Canadian citizens.