Accusations of Foreign Interference and Espionage Activities Cast a Pall over Canada-India Relations

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Accusations of Foreign Interference and Espionage Activities Cast a Pall over Canada-India Relations

A Closer Look at India's Involvement

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has identified India, alongside China, Russia, and Iran, as key players in foreign interference and espionage activities targeting Canada and other Western nations. This concerning trend is highlighted in the CSIS's 2023 public report, which details the continued involvement of these countries and their intelligence services in various hostile activities within Canada.

The report defines foreign-influenced activities as actions detrimental to Canada's interests, often characterized by secrecy, deception, and threats to individuals. These activities, categorized as foreign interference, typically serve another country's interests at Canada's expense.

Following the deterioration in bilateral relations between Canada and India, the CSIS observed low-sophistication cyber activities against Canada by non-state actors aligned with India. However, the report emphasizes that there is no indication of the Indian government's direct involvement in these cyber incidents.

The strained relationship between the two countries stems from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement in September 2023, alleging the involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia. This accusation further escalated tensions between the two nations.

Adding to the concerns, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) disclosed a legal document in November implicating Nikhil Gupta in a murder-for-hire plot targeting a dual citizen of the US and Canada residing in New York. The document suggests the involvement of an Indian government official in the plot.

Furthermore, the CSIS report references alleged interference by India during the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections. The Public Inquiry on Foreign Interference in January 2024 requested the collection and production of documents by the Government of Canada, including information related to India's purported interference in these elections.

The CSIS report paints a concerning picture of foreign interference and espionage activities targeting Canada, with India emerging as a key player alongside other major global powers. The report's findings underscore the need for continued vigilance and robust counterintelligence measures to protect Canada's national security and democratic processes.