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 alliance known as the Five Eyes.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised eyebrows by asserting that Ottawa had solid intelligence connecting Indian agents to the murder of Nijjar in Vancouver.
India, however, dismissed the allegations 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.
CTV News is the news division of the CTV Television Network of Canada.
However, Cohen refrained detailing the type of intelligence shared by the Five Eyes partners with the Canadian government.
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 killing 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,” he added, were broken in the alleged killing.
“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.