India’s PM Narendra Modi shakes hands with Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi in early September. File pic/PTI
Admitting for the first time, a top United States diplomat has confirmed that there was "shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners" that had prompted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's offensive allegation about Indian agents' involvement in the killing of a Khalistani extremist on Canadian soil, according to a media report on Saturday. Canadian state news channel, reported quoting the US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen.
The report also mentioned that there were inputs from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Associated Press that the intelligence Trudeau was speaking of did not come from Canada alone and that additional information was provided by an unspecified member of the intelligence-sharing alliance. Trudeau had on September 18 made an explosive allegation of the âpotential' involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, in Surrey in British Columbia on June 18. India has rejected Trudeau's allegations as "absurd" and "motivated."
It also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move. The channel's report is based on its exclusive interview on its programme âQuestion Period with Vassy Kapelos' that is to air on Sunday. "In the days since, as diplomatic tensions continue to ratchet up from Canada reassessing its staffing in India, to India suspending visa services for Canadians, there have been swirling questions about what intelligence is at the centre of this story, who was aware of it, and when," added the state channel in its report.
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It further said that while Cohen would not comment on whether the intelligence informing the Canadian government's investigation was both human and surveillance-based, or whether it included signals intelligence of Indian diplomats, the US envoy to Canada did say "there was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the Prime Minister made."
"He [Cohen] made this comment while denying a Washington Post report alleging that weeks before Trudeau's bombshell declaration, Ottawa asked its closest allies, including the US to publicly condemn the murder," the statement said. "Look, I will say this was a matter of shared intelligence information," he said, "There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that's as far as I am comfortable going," said Cohen.
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