Updated 11:32 PM EDT, Sun September 24, 2023
Intelligence gained by the “Five Eyes” network led to Canada’s public accusation that the Indian government may have played a role in the assassination of a Sikh separatist activist on Canadian soil, the US Ambassador to Canada said Sunday.
I’m “confirming that there was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the prime minister made,” US Ambassador to Canada, David Cohen, told CTV’s Question Period with Vassy Kapelos in a Sunday interview.
Five Eyes is an intelligence sharing pact between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, though the ambassador would not confirm if that shared intelligence came from the US. “I’m not. I wouldn’t in any circumstance,” Cohen said.
Relations between India and Canada plummeted last week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said authorities had been investigating “credible allegations” that New Delhi was potentially behind the June killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist activist, who was gunned down by two masked men in Surrey, British Columbia.
India has vehemently denied the claims, calling them “absurd and motivated.” India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Canada has provided “no specific information” to support the allegations.
Both nations have expelled senior diplomats in reciprocal moves, raising the prospect of an awkward rift between key partners of the US.
The spat then escalated further last week when India suspended visa services for Canadian citizens over what it said were “security threats” against diplomats in Canada.
Speaking to CTV, Cohen said the US did express its concern to India over the allegations and asked New Delhi to cooperate with Canada in its investigation.
“If they prove to be true, it is a potentially a very serious breach of the rules based international order,” the ambassador said.