Jaishankar on Nijjar conspiracy: Canada blames us but shows no proof | India News

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said Canada never provides any evidence but blames India for crimes committed there, while a Canadian government report – “Public inquiry into foreign interference in federal electoral processes and democratic institutions ” – Indian officials and proxies claimed to engage in a range of activities to influence Canadian communities and politicians, and that “India led foreign interference activities” during the 2019 and 2021 general elections in Canada.

Jaishankar’s comments come after Canadian police said they were investigating possible links with India following the arrest of three Indian nationals for the killing of pro-Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, whom India labeled a terrorist.

Canada has “allowed organized crime, especially from Punjab, to operate from there,” the foreign minister said at a news conference in Bhubaneswar.

Suspects linked to the killing in Canada of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. (Reuters)


“Before I came in, I just saw that three people had been arrested. Apparently they are Indians with some sort of gang background. We wait for the police to tell us more. But normally, if you don’t have a political agenda, I will provide proof when I say I suspect you,” he said at a news conference. “We have never received anything from Canada that involves the Indian government. In fact, we have repeatedly told you (the Canadian government): if you have anything, please give it to us,” Jaishankar added.

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Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue’s Canadian report points to Indian officials, including Canada-based proxies, engaged in influencing Canadian communities and politicians. The report states that their goal is to “align Canada’s position with India’s interests on key issues, particularly how the Indian government perceives Canada-based supporters of an independent Sikh homeland.” The World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada, which put the report in the public domain, is a hardline advocate for the creation of a separate nation of Khalistan.

Jaishankar blamed “vote bank” politics in Canada for the problems there and said the situation has worsened because the ruling party does not have a majority. The party they depend on is pro-Khalistani, he said, adding that India has consistently urged Canada not to give space to separatists and give them political legitimacy as this will cause problems for both India and Canada and in their relations.

“There are 25 examples that I have with me who are either known pro-Khalistani individuals or part of gangs involved in crimes. We made extradition requests to them, but they did nothing. There’s a gang war going on there. Every time they shift the blame to India. But investigative agencies there never provide any evidence. What I think is that it is a political game,” he said.

Jaishankar also rejected former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s accusation in a column in a British daily that India is committing murders in Pakistan. The Foreign Minister said there is no dearth of terrorists in Pakistan who can commit such crimes. Khan had claimed that “India has already admitted to killings inside Pakistan and the international border with Afghanistan remains volatile….”

Responding to Khan’s article, Jaishankar said: “As far as we can see, there are reports that some people with a background in terrorism, some of them died under quite unusual circumstances. That is something they need to investigate.”

“Terrorists are not very nice people. They could do things to each other. I’m not completely up to date on the Khan article. But I do know that, instead of saying why these people are dying, I would first like to ask why there are so many terrorists in Pakistan. And why does Pakistan protect them so much? That is the question that needs to be answered,” Jaishankar said.

The Canadian report, meanwhile, said: “India makes no distinction between legitimate, pro-Khalistani political advocacy and Khalistani’s relatively small, Canadian-based violent extremism… Targets of Indian foreign interference are often members of the Indo-Canadian communities, but prominent nuns -profit organizations. -Indo-Canadians are also subject to India’s foreign influence activities,” the report claims.

On the alleged interference in the 2019 and 2021 general elections, the report claims: “An intelligence agency indicates that Indian proxy agents may have attempted to interfere with democratic processes, allegedly through clandestinely providing illegal financial support to several Canadian politicians as a means of seeking to secure the election of pro-Indian candidates or gain influence over candidates running for office.”

Another section, titled “Suspected Foreign Interference by the Government of India,” notes that during the Canadian federal elections, Indian officials “expressed interest in individual electoral contests” and likely hoped that “pro-Indian candidates would prevail.”