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The US Ambassador to Canada, David Cohen has confirmed that the so called intelligence which prompted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations against India was shared among Five Eyes partners. The Five Eyes is a colloaboration of intelligence agencies of five countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK.
Trudeau Monday claimed to have evidence of “credible allegations” linking an Indian government diplomat to the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India vehemently rejected Trudeau’s claims and termed them “absurd and politically driven”.
His allegations, however, triggered a massive diplomatic row between India and Canada with both countries expelled each other’s diplomats and New Delhi suspending visa services for Canadians citizens.
“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.
While India has designated Nijjar a terrorist, Trudeau government considered him a “Sikh activist” and ignored his acts of violence and anti-India activities. He was killed by two masked gunmen in the parking lot of a Gurudwara in Surrey on June 18, reportedly by a rival gang.
Earlier this week, Trudeau had told reporters that officials had been working closely with intelligence agencies since the summer to “make sure that we had solid grounding in understanding what was going on”.
“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.
Earlier, on Friday (local time), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” over Trudeau’s allegations of an India hand in the killing of the pro-Khalistan leader Nijjar.
Blinked said that the United States wants to see accountability in the matter even as experts suggest Washington would like to stay away from the matter.
Addressing a press conference in New York City earlier this week, Blinken said the US has engaged directly with the Indian government and called on New Delhi to work closely with Ottawa on the investigation.
India, on the other hand, has demanded evidence from the Canadian prime minister to back his claims but so far, he has given none. In a press conference India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also questioned Canada’s stand on Khalistani extremists.
Bagchi said that Canada has become a safe haven for terrorists and failed to act against those who incite violence against India despite providing evidence on several occasions. India also shared a detailed dossier with Canada on Nijjar’s terror activities including his links with Pakistan’s ISI but Trudeau chose to look the other way around.