Five Eyes Shared Intel With Canada on Possible India Role in Sikh Activist’s Murder: US Ambassador

by EditorK

“There was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the prime minister made.”

Katherine Tai (L), United States Trade Representative, David Cohen (C), United States ambassador to Canada, and Mary Ng (R), Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade look at semiconductors arrive for a tour at Venture Labs in Markham, Ontario, Canada, May 6, 2022. (Photo by Cole BURSTON / AFP) (Photo by COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Matthew Horwood
Updated: September, 24, 2023

Intelligence shared with Canada by the Five Eyes partners informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus’ recent allegations about a possible link between the Indian government and the murder of a Canadian citizen, according to U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen.

“There was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the prime minister made,” Mr. Cohen told CTV News in an interview on Sept. 22.

“Look, 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.”

Mr. Cohen would not say if the intelligence that informed the Canadian government’s investigation was both surveillance- and human-based, or whether it included the signals intelligence of Indian diplomats.

The Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing alliance that consists of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The U.S. ambassador to Canada also denied a Washington Post report alleging that several weeks before Mr. Trudeau made the allegations, Canada had asked its closest allies, including the United States, to publicly condemn the murder, which they refused to do.

On Sept. 18, Mr. Trudeau told the House that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating “credible allegations” that agents from the Indian government were involved in the assassination of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in B.C. in June.

This allegation came after Mr. Trudeau’s visit to New Delhi, India, Sept. 9-10 for the G20 Summit turned sour after he told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Canada was preparing to launch a public inquiry into foreign interference and that Mr. Modi’s government was suspected of involvement in the killing of the Sikh secessionist.

In response, India has stopped processing visas for Canadians, including applications made from third countries, and has requested a reduction of Canadian diplomats in the country.

Speaking on how the United States should interpret and respond to what has unfolded, Mr. Cohen said his country “takes very seriously these allegations.” He added that Washington officials have said U.S. President Joe Biden has expressed his concern to India over the allegations. He said the United States has asked India to cooperate in Canada’s investigation.

“If they prove to be true, it is a potentially very serious breach of the rules-based international order in which we like to function,” Mr. Cohen said. “We think it’s very important to get to the bottom of it.”

The Biden administration has downplayed the idea that there could be a “wedge” between Canada and the United States over India, with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying on Sept. 21 that his country had “deep concerns about the allegations” and “would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account.”


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