The indictment of an Indian national for the attempted assassination of a Sikh separatist and dual American and Canadian national ‘validates’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations that the Indian government may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen as having “real substance”. according to two former Canadian national security advisers.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice announced that it had indicted Indian national Nikhil Gupta in June for a failed attempt to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader on American soil.
Gupta was also allegedly linked to and worked under an Indian government employee in connection with the so-called “kill for hire,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The newly unsealed indictment reveals other important details about the case, including its connection to the murder of another Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia in June.
In September, Trudeau addressed the House of Commons to say there were “credible allegations” that the Indian government may have been involved in Nijjar’s murder.
India has denied the accusations, which triggered more than two months of tense relations between the two countries.
In a joint interview on CTV’s Questions Period broadcast Sunday, Richard Fadden and Vincent Rigby told host Vassy Kapelos that the new information about the U.S. accusations lends some level of credibility to Trudeau’s accusations.
Meanwhile, India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, also told Kapelos, in an exclusive interview on CTV’s Question Period, broadcast on November 26, that India was cooperating with Americans, but not with Canadians, due to a disparity between information from the two countries. countries shared during their respective surveys.
But when asked at the time whether Canada’s current national security adviser, Jody Thomas, had shared information with India during the nine days she visited that country in August and September, Verma said that “conversations have taken place,” but none of those “specific, relevant conversations.” inputs” were provided.
“The conversations may contain allegations, the conversation may contain certain facts of the case, but the allegations and the facts do not make it specific and relevant,” he said. “So we need these facts.”
Rigby said the new information about the U.S. case, particularly the revelation of the indictment, “fundamentally changes” the Indian government’s argument that it is not cooperating with the Canadian investigation into the death of Nijjar because Canada did not share enough “specific and relevant” information.
“So I think to a large extent it validates what the prime minister said, which is that there are at least credible allegations of Indian complicity in the killing of Mr. Nijjar in Canada,” Rigby said, adding that he found Verma’s response “interesting.”
“Ultimately, I’m not sure it’s ‘Canada didn’t present the information to the Indians,’ but I think it’s more likely a case of ‘Canada is not not the United States,” he also added. said. “We are not a great power. And so we are treated a little differently.
Rigby also said the prime minister’s accusations were like “icing on the cake” after several years of strained relations between Canada and India.
Fadden — who is also a former director of CSIS — agrees, saying that “we’ve always been told” that Canada and the United States exchange evidence and intelligence with each other, so he “assumes that much of what was in the indictment has been made available to Canada.
Fadden added that this confirms “there was real substance” to Trudeau’s accusations in the House of Commons.
“So I think the Indians are now going to have to recognize, particularly if they cooperate with the United States, and if we continue to cooperate with the United States, that intelligence and evidence are going to flow between our three countries,” did he declare. said.
“But I think we have to be realistic,” he also said. “What we need to do now, I think, is continue to press with our allies, to make India understand that this is not the way a democratic country based on the rule of law treats its allies.”
Fadden also discussed the issue’s broader implications for Canada’s year-old Indo-Pacific strategy.
Rigby agrees, saying the issue will become a “real test” for Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly’s attempts at “pragmatic diplomacy” regarding the Indo-Pacific strategy, as India is “well respect, the linchpin” of this strategy and the region as a whole.
You can watch Fadden and Rigby’s full discussion in the video player at the top of this article.