Amid strained diplomatic relations with India, Canada has named New Delhi as a 'foreign threat' that could potentially interfere in its elections.
The allegation was made by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in a declassified intelligence report accessed by Global News.
The CSIS Intelligence Assessment, titled “Foreign Interference and Elections: A National Security Assessment,” and dated 31 October 2022, called India a threat and asserted that foreign interference networks are “deeply embedded” in Canadian politics.
The report also warned that foreign interference was “incrementally” weakening Canada’s democracy.
Foreign interference, or FI, was unlike traditional diplomatic activity in that it used secrecy and deception to influence Canadian policy-making, public narratives and civil society, it said.
“FI networks are active throughout Canada, and at all levels of government. Many of these networks are deeply embedded in Canada’s political and social fabric,” the report said.
According to the report, the targets of foreign meddling include diaspora groups, media outlets and federal, provincial, municipal and indigenous governments, as well as “various facets of Canadian civil society".
This is the first time Canada has accused India of election meddling, a charge that China and Russia already face.
A 'Briefing to the Minister of Democratic Institutions on Foreign Interference' in February last year referred to China as "by far the most significant threat."
"We know that the PRC sought to clandestinely and deceptively influence the 2019 and 2021 federal elections," it quoted the report, referring to the People's Republic of China.
The parts of the document made public names no country, but other materials name India and China as top threats, the media said.
It said foreign interference harms Canada and Canadians "by eroding sovereignty, democratic processes and values".
This comes amid increased diplomatic tensions between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorists Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Nijjar was killed by unidenfied gunmen near a Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia in June last year.
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged in the country's Parliament that Indian government agents were involved in Nijjar's killing, an allegation that was strongly refuted by India, which called it "absurd" and "motivated".
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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