India’s alleged interference in Canadian politics raises concerns about Khalistani separatists: official investigation

Indian officials, including Canada-based proxies, engage in a range of activities that seek to influence Canadian communities and politicians to align Ottawa’s position with New Delhi’s interests on key issues, particularly concerns about Khalistani separatists in Canada, an official investigation has found.

The findings in the interim report by Commissioner Marie-Josee Hogue, who is leading the independent public inquiry, show that there was foreign interference in Canada’s last two federal elections in 2019 and 2021, but the election results were not certified. influenced and the electoral system became robust.

India has previously dismissed allegations of its interference in the Canadian elections as “baseless”, claiming that the core of the issue has been Ottawa’s interference in New Delhi’s internal affairs.

The report, released Friday, states that the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) stands out as the leading perpetrator of foreign interference in Canada.

“China has been assessed by Canadian authorities as the most active foreign state actors engaged in interference targeting government officials, political organizations, candidates for political office and diaspora communities,” the report said.

On India, the report says: “Indian officials, including Canada-based proxies, engage in a range of activities aimed at influencing Canadian communities and politicians. These activities include foreign interference, which aims to align Canada’s position with India’s interests on key issues, especially regarding how the Indian government is targeting Canada-based supporters of an independent Sikh homeland (Khalistan). perceives.” India’s interest in Canada is linked to that of Canada. large South Asian community. India views a section of these communities as espousing anti-India sentiment and posing a threat to Indian stability and national security, the report said.

“India makes no distinction between legal, pro-Khalistani political advocacy and Khalistani’s relatively small, Canadian-based violent extremism. It considers anyone who joins Khalistani separatism as a seditious threat to India,” the report said.

“We strongly reject all these baseless allegations of Indian interference in the Canadian elections,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal said in New Delhi in February.

“It is not the policy of the Indian government to interfere in the democratic processes of other countries. On the contrary, it is Canada that has been interfering in our internal affairs,” Jaiswal said in response to a question.

The Canadian investigative report states that the targets of Indian foreign interference are often members of the Indo-Canadian communities, but prominent non-Indo-Canadians are also subject to India’s foreign influence activities. These activities may not be aimed at influencing Canada’s democratic institutions, but are still significant, the report said.

”Indian officials in Canada are increasingly relying on Canadian and Canada-based proxies and the contacts in their networks to engineer foreign interference. This obscures any explicit link between India and foreign interference activities. Proxies liaise and collaborate with Indian intelligence officials in India and Canada, taking both explicit and implicit cues from them,” the report said.

‘India led foreign interference activities related to the 2019 and 2021 general elections. Intelligence indicates that Indian proxy agents may have attempted to interfere with democratic processes, reportedly including by clandestinely providing illegal financial support to several Canadian politicians as a means of attempting to secure the election of pro-India candidates or gain influence over candidates coming into office,” the report said.

In some cases, candidates may never know that their campaigns received illegal money. There was no evidence of India-based disinformation campaigns in the 2021 general elections, the report said.

India was mentioned 43 times in the 194-page report.

‘In the classified supplement to this report, I discuss the intelligence relating to possible foreign interference by India in the 2021 general elections, its dissemination within the government and the actions taken in response. I have not identified any shortcomings regarding the flow of information or the government’s response,” Marie-Josee Hogue said.

India has claimed that its ‘core problem’ with Canada continues to be the space given to separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country.

Other countries engaged in interference activities in Canada have been identified as Russia, Pakistan and Iran, among others.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)