American intelligence agencies shared information with Canadian officials following the killing of a Khalistani leader in Vancouver.
However, it was Canada that gathered the evidence which led it to accuse India of orchestrating the plot, as reported by The New York Times.
In the aftermath of the killing, US intelligence agencies provided their Canadian counterparts with additional context that helped Canada reach the conclusion they did.
Nonetheless, it was Canadian officials who apparently obtained intercepted communications from Indian diplomats in Canada, which they used to link India to the plot.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of being involved in Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing, citing "credible allegations."
While Secretary of State Antony J Blinken has urged India to cooperate with Canada's investigation, American officials have been cautious about causing any diplomatic tensions with India.
The disclosure of US intelligence involvement risks entangling Washington in the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Canada and India, at a time when the US seeks to strengthen its partnership with New Delhi.
Two individuals shot and killed Nijjar, a Khalistani extremist, outside a Sikh temple. This incident took place in the Vancouver area on 18 June.
Following Nijjar's death, American officials informed their Canadian counterparts that they had no prior knowledge of the plot.
The officials cited in The New York Times report, who preferred to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue, disclosed that Canadian officials had given Nijjar a general warning.
This implies that Canada not only provided shelter to Nijjar, who met his demise reportedly at the hands of a rival gang, but was also actively involved in shielding him.
The US shares a significant amount of intercepted communications with its closest intelligence partners, including Canada.
However, in the case of Nijjar's killing, the contextual information was deliberately shared as part of a comprehensive intelligence package.
While the US aims to assist Canada, a close ally, it also wants to maintain positive relations with India.
The US sees India as a potential partner to counterbalance China's growing influence in Asia.
Canada's accusation has strained diplomatic relations between Ottawa and New Delhi.
Both countries have expelled each other's intelligence officers, and India has suspended visas for Canadians.
India has strongly denied Trudeau's allegations, calling them "absurd" and "motivated".
Nijjar had been wanted by India for several years before he was fatally shot outside the Gurdwara he led in Surrey.
Canada has yet to provide public evidence to back Trudeau's allegations.
The Canadian Prime Minister, whose party's ratings are at their lowest since gaining power, would lose his job to Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre if an election were held today, various reports in the Canadian media have indicated over the past few months, based on credible surveys.
Given this backdrop, experts contend that Trudeau may be using state agencies to provide a safe refuge for Sikh extremists in Canada to win the support of this increasingly critical voting bloc.
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