Canada failed to counter Indian foreign interference – Panth-Punjab Project

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Indian PM Narendra Modi and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit in New Delhi on Sept 10, 2023 – Photo: Justin Trudeau Facebook

By Panth-Punjab Project | Report |

Justice Hogue released her initial report on Friday May 3, in which she concluded that “India directed foreign interference activities related to the 2019 and 2021 general elections”

Canada’s Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference wrapped up its first phase recently where a coalition of Sikh organizations shone light on the realities of Indian foreign interference and Canada’s failures in addressing this threat. The coalition was successful in uncovering government documents confirming clandestine Indian activities in Canada for the first time, as well as shining a light on the threat posed by Indian activities before the Commissioner. Alongside highlighting India’s operations in the national media, the questions raised by the coalition point to an alarming lack of action taken by Canadian government officials despite clear evidence of India’s covert presence in the country.

Readers can access the full submissions from the Sikh Coalition here.

Below is an edited excerpt from the coalition’s closing submissions to the Commissioner.

The record demonstrates that Indian diplomats and intelligence operatives are actively engaging in clandestine conduct to ultimately influence Canadian policy makers to adopt pro-India positions, as well as criminalize and prosecute any form of Sikh political advocacy in Canada under the guise of “countering extremism”. By conflating any expression of Sikh identity and any form of political advocacy critical of India with “extremism” writ large, Indian officials continue to misuse their diplomatic resources to overtly and covertly persuade Canadian decision-makers and institutions to criminalize and marginalize Sikhs in this country. 

The lack of decisive action to combat Indian foreign interference in Canada appears to be largely related to the fact that foreign policy considerations are often given greater weight than long-term domestic harms, particularly when the harm remains localized to a minority community. In the case of Indian interference, this lack of a meaningful response from Canada has further led to the continued marginalization of a minority community whose interests and democratic rights are being compromised and ignored in exchange for foreign policy objectives deemed to be of greater importance. The de facto impunity granted to Indian diplomats and intelligence operatives as a result, has emboldened Indian perpetrators of foreign interference and transnational repression, ultimately paving the ground for the assassination of Shaheed Bhai Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023.

Read the full report here.

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