India junks Canada's 'election interference' charge as 'baseless'

India has dismissed Canada's allegations of its interference in Canadian elections, calling it "baseless" and said that Ottawa instead, was meddling in New Delhi's internal affairs.
India junks Canada's 'election interference' charge as 'baseless'
Jaano Junction

India has strongly rejected as "baseless" allegations of its interference in the Canadian general elections and hit back at Ottawa, saying it was, instead, meddling in New Delhi's internal affairs.

India's hard-hitting response came after a Canadian media report on Friday claimed that India and Pakistan attempted to "interfere" in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections in Canada, the country's spy agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), alleged. It also came amid the ongoing diplomatic row between both countries over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year.

Canada's federal commission of inquiry into foreign interference is looking to examine claims of election interference by India in 2019 and 2021, according to the country's media reports.

Responding to the reports, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, "We have seen media reports about the Canadian commission inquiring into. We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections."

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India junks Canada's 'election interference' charge as 'baseless'

"It is not the government of India's policy to interfere in the democratic processes of other countries. In fact, quite on the reverse, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs," he said.

Unclassified documents by the CSIS alleging election interference were tabled as part of the Federal Commission of Inquiry examining "possible meddling" by India, China, Russia and other countries in the 2019 and 2021 elections, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.

The CSIS, in its documents, alleged that the Indian government in 2021 had "intended to interfere and likely conducted clandestine activities", including using an Indian government proxy agent in Canada.

Two years earlier, in 2019, "Government of Pakistan officials in Canada attempted to clandestinely influence Canadian federal politics with the aim of furthering the Government of Pakistan's interests in Canada," the CSIS claimed.

In 2021, the spy agency alleged, that the Indian government's foreign interference activities "were centred on a small number of electoral districts".

The CSIS documents claimed that the Indian government targeted those electoral districts due to New Delhi's perception that "a portion of Indian-Canadian voters were sympathetic to the Khalistani movement or pro-Pakistan political stances".

The CSIS has amassed "a body of intelligence" that indicates a government of India "proxy agent may have attempted to interfere in democratic processes" by providing illegal financial support to pro-Indian candidates, the document said.

"Any such financial contribution could have remained unknown to the candidate," CSIS said, without identifying the specific electoral districts or candidates that may have been subject to India's alleged meddling in 2021.

However, CSIS Director David Vigneault told the public inquiry that intel documents may not necessarily be factual and require further investigation as these documents warn about the summaries being possibly uncorroborated, single-sourced or incomplete, CBC News reported.

The development came against the backdrop of diplomatic tensions between India and Canada after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged a "potential" involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, in June last year.

India hit back at Trudeau's allegations and called them "absurd" and "motivated" and said Canada was giving space to Khalistani elements targeting New Delhi.

Source: India Today

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