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India did not interfere in 2021 elections won by Justin Trudeau but China did: Canada

This comes after a commission into foreign interference was set up by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following pressure from opposition legislators unhappy about reports on China's possible role.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Ottawa (Canada) Updated on: April 10, 2024 16:14 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon his arrival at Bhar
Image Source : REUTERS/FILE Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon his arrival at Bharat Mandapam Convention Center for the G20 Summit

Ottawa: Days after it was reported that India had interfered in the 2021 Canadian election that was won by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a panel of Canadian officials who had monitored both polls rejected such allegations. However, it mentioned China's influence in the elections that were held in 2019 and 2021. 

In February, a report by Global News stated that  India was identified as a 'potential threat' to Canada's democratic processes, along with China, according to the declassified top-secret briefing report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The federal commission has signalled its intention to probe any role India might have played in influencing the two ballots. 

What did Canadian Opposition members allege?

Erin O'Toole, who led the Conservatives during the 2021 campaign, alleged that Chinese interference cost his party up to nine seats but added it had not changed the course of the election. "State actors are able to conduct foreign interference successfully in Canada because there are few legal or political consequences. FI is therefore low-risk and high-reward," said the CSIS assessment.

Meanwhile, as the investigation into the allegations was about to be completed, it has now been reported that the officials involved in the probe did not find any India angle. But, the probe results found The People's Republic of China (PRC) had influenced the polls. It was expected that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would appear before a public prosecutor. 

"I don't think there is any evidence against the Government of India using those tools in the campaign," a poll official told the probe panel. 

India rejected its involvement in Canadian elections 

Earlier, rejecting the report staunchly, India stressed that it did not interfere in any of the elections held across the countries. The Ministry of External Affairs, in fact, alleged Ottawa of interfering in the internal matters of New Delhi.

"We have seen media reports, Canadian Commission inquiring into foreign interferences...we strongly reject such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections, it is not govt of India's policy to interfere in the democratic process of other countries, in fact, quite on the reverse it is Canada, who has been interfering in our internal affairs," said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal had said when the reports appeared on Canadian media.

India-Canada relations reached a new low

It is worth mentioning the latest findings came at a time when the relations between India and China are poised to a new low following the allegations levelled by Trudeau against New Delhi. In September last year, the Canadian Prime Minister, during his speech in the House of Commons alleged that the Indian government was involved in the murder of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Gurudwara in Surrey. The incident happened in June last year but Trudeau's alleged India's involvement days after leaving the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September last year. 

The allegation has taken a significant toll on diplomatic relations between the two nations. Both nations had expelled the senior diplomats and India had briefly halted visa operations. Since then, the foreign ministers of both nations met on multiple occasions but little progress has been noted in the diplomatic arena.

Also Read: China interfered in last two Canadian elections in 2019 and 2021: Intelligence agency

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