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Canada Expands Probe On Suspected Indian Interference In Elections

An independent commission, formed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to investigate foreign interference in Canada, has requested information from the Canadian government regarding potential meddling in elections by India. This move, part of the commission’s broader inquiry into foreign interference, could potentially escalate tensions between Ottawa and New Delhi. Established in September, the commission initially focused on investigating alleged Chinese attempts to influence Canadian elections, a claim repeatedly denied by Beijing.

In a statement on Wednesday, the commission disclosed its request for documents from the Canadian government related to “alleged interference by India” during the 2019 and 2021 elections. This development follows a Bloomberg report last year revealing Trudeau’s initiation of the inquiry after leaked intelligence documents suggested Chinese interference in Canadian elections. The commission now confirms the inclusion of the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in its investigation.

The examination of alleged Indian interference in Canada’s last two general elections, particularly after the India-Canada row over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, adds complexity to bilateral relations. Trudeau’s earlier allegations in September of potential Indian involvement in Nijjar’s murder strained ties between the two nations. India rejected Trudeau’s claims as “absurd” and “motivated.”

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The commission’s hearings are scheduled for January 29, exploring challenges in disclosing classified national security information and intelligence to the public. An interim report is expected on May 3, with the final report anticipated by the year’s end.

This inquiry expands the scope to evaluate the flow of information within the federal government, actions taken in response to interference allegations, and the government’s capacity to detect, deter, and counter foreign interference. Led by Quebec Judge Marie-Josee Hogue, the commission aims to address claims of foreign interference by China, Russia, and others.

As diplomatic tensions persist, this inquiry underscores the intricate dynamics shaping international relations, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability in addressing concerns of foreign interference. The outcome of the commission’s investigation will likely influence future interactions between Canada and India.

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