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After China, Now India Added in Canada's Election Meddling Probe

The commission will examine whether India had any involvement in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

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The relations between Canada and India have further sunk lower after Canada has included India in its election meddling probe. The country's public inquiry into foreign interference will examine whether India had any involvement in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

In a statement released on 24 January, the Foreign Interference Commission has requested that the Government of Canada’s collection and production of document relating to paragraphs clause (a)(i)(A) and (a)(i)(B) of its Terms of Reference include information and documents relating to alleged interference by India related to the 2019 and 2021 elections.

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PM Trudeau Initiated Probe Last Year

According to a Bloomberg report, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, initiated an inquiry following the leak of intelligence documents to the media last year. The leak mentioned China’s interference and favouring candidates who were more sympathetic to President Xi Jinping's government. Reports suggest Russia was involved, too, apart from China.

The inquiry is scheduled to commence its inaugural public hearings next week.

India-Canada Relations Gone Sore

In September last year, PM Trudeau, while addressing the parliament, claimed that his government had proof of India’s involvement in the killing of a Khalistani separatist named Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar (45) was gunned down outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, by two unidentified assailants on 18 June this year, leading to uproar among pro-Khalistani groups in Canada and across the world.

After the allegation, the Indian government denied the claim, and the relationship went further south when India temporarily suspended visas for Canadians and threatened to revoke the immunity of two-thirds of Canada’s diplomats, forcing them to leave India. Even the trade talks between the countries have been on pause for months. The Canadian government has still not provided proof to India, claims India's external affairs ministry.

Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar?

A plumber by profession, Nijjar was associated with the banned Indian separatist group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), and climbed its ranks to the 'number 2' position over the years.

He first became involved in pro-Khalistan activities in Canada after joining the Jagtar Singh Tara-led Babbar Khalsa International. Later, he formed his own group called the Khalistan Tiger Force and played an active role in strengthening Khalistani cells across India. This led to at least 10 FIRs being lodged against him.

Over the years, India conveyed its strong concerns regarding Nijjar to the Canadian government. In 2018, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also handed over a list of wanted persons to Trudeau, which included Nijjar's name, according to India Today.

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