In rebuttal to new claim, India accuses Canada of interfering in its affairs | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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In rebuttal to new claim, India accuses Canada of interfering in its affairs

Feb 08, 2024 05:58 PM IST

The external affairs ministry said it was Canada which has been interfering in India’s internal affairs and this issue was regularly raised with the Canadian side

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday rejected allegations by Canadian authorities about Indian interference in that country’s elections, with New Delhi calling on Ottawa to take “effective measures” to address concerns about meddling in India’s internal affairs.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault arrives to public hearing on February 1 for an independent commission probing alleged foreign interference in Canadian elections in Ottawa (REUTERS)
Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault arrives to public hearing on February 1 for an independent commission probing alleged foreign interference in Canadian elections in Ottawa (REUTERS)

Reports in the Canadian media had cited a report prepared by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) as saying that “India engages in FI (foreign interference) activities”. The report had also stated while China remains the greatest concern for Canadian authorities in terms of interference in elections, the Indian side too allegedly engages in such activities.

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External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing that the Indian side has seen media reports about a Canadian commission inquiring into interference in elections in that country.

“We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections. It is not government of India’s policy to interfere in democratic processes of other countries,” Jaiswal said.

“In fact, quite on the reverse, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs. We have been raising this issue regularly with the [Canadian side]. We continue to call on Canada to take effective measures to address our core concerns,” he said, referring to New Delhi’s recent accusation that Canadian diplomats had been meddling in domestic affairs.

Following reports that China interfered in Canada’s federal elections in 2019 and 2021, a Canadian judge recent began a public inquiry into foreign interference in electoral processes and democratic institutions The commission is expected to release an interim report by May and deliver its final report by December.

Jaiswal’s remarks came against the backdrop of a sharp downturn in India-Canada ties over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation last year about a “potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India had rejected the accusation as “absurd”.

The deterioration of India-Canada relations was followed by New Delhi’s decision to suspend issuing visas to Canadians but that was restored last November. India also sought parity in diplomatic presence, leading to Canada having to withdraw 41 diplomats from India last October.

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