David Cohen, the US ambassador to Canada, entered the ongoing diplomatic standoff between India and Canada by asserting that the Trudeau administration’s assertion that “agents” of the Indian government may have been involved in the death of separatist Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was based on “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners.”
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and the UK are members of the intelligence partnership known as the Five Eyes.
On Monday, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised eyebrows by asserting that the Canadian government had solid intelligence connecting Indian agents to the murder of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Nijjar in Vancouver.
But India denied the claims, calling them “absurd and motivated.”
“I will say this was a matter of shared intelligence information. There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that’s as far as I’m comfortable going,” Cohen told CTV News in an interview.
Cohen would not go into specifics about the kind of intelligence that the Five Eyes allies shared with the Canadian government, though.
Since the summer, officials have been closely collaborating with intelligence agencies to “make sure that we had solid grounding in understanding what was going on,” Trudeau had earlier this week told reporters.
Trudeau declared on the floor of the Canadian Parliament that any foreign government’s involvement in the execution of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil amounts to an intolerable breach of the nation’s sovereignty.
The fundamental principles “by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves” were also said to have been broken by the suspected murder, according to him.
“If the allegations prove to be true, it is a potentially very serious breach of the rules-based international order in which we like to function,” Cohen added in the interview.
Prior to that, on Friday (local time), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington was “deeply concerned” about Trudeau’s claims that India was involved in the murder of pro-Khalistan leader Nijjar.
The ambassador stated that the US wants to see accountability in the situation and that it is “important” for the investigation to be completed and to produce a conclusion.
Blinken stated previously at a press conference in New York City that Washington had direct contact with the Indian administration and was also discussing “very closely” with Canada and cooperating on the matter. He stressed the significance of India collaborating with the Canadians in the murder investigation.
Meanwhile, when speaking at a news conference in New York City on Thursday, Trudeau lacked any supporting documentation for his assertions. The Canadian Prime Minister was questioned numerous times with the specifics of the claims but kept repeating that there were “credible reasons” to think that India was involved in Nijjar’s passing.
Nijjar, an Indian terrorist with a death sentence, was shot and killed on June 18 in front of a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia.
Senior officials from both nations were expelled as tensions and the diplomatic impasse grew.
India likewise stopped providing Canadian citizens with visas.