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Five Eyes Partners' Role in Canada's India Accusation Raises Diplomatic Tensions

Monday, September 25, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen argued that the public accusation by Canada against India for perhaps being behind the assassination of Sikh separatist activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil was based on intelligence shared among "Five Eyes." The US-led alliance, known as the "Five Eyes," includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. However, Cohen did not confirm if this stemmed from the US.

Following both countries expelling senior diplomats, this public accusation has only further strained relations between the two nations. In response to these developments, India suspended visa services for Canadians, citing "security threats" against its diplomats in Ottawa.

Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair stressed the importance of the Five Eyes partnership but refused to say where the tip-off had come from. He urged focusing efforts on a criminal investigation into Nijjar's killing.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appealed for India to cooperate with an investigation, stressing transparency and justice. India accused Canada of providing a "safe haven for terrorists" and condemned its "incitement of violence" and "inaction". The Indian government has long said that Canada has failed to address Sikh separatist extremism, which aspires to create Khalistan, a separate homeland for Sikhs.

Nijjar, a Khalistan supporter, was gunned down in a shootout outside a Sikh temple in the west of Canada last month. Canadian police are investigating three suspects for murder but have made no arrests.

While abroad-based sikh organizations say they will peacefully pursue their support of Khalistan and expose what they describe as human rights violations against Sikhs by India, the Indian government claims that such advocacy is another word for terrorism. The controversy has strained diplomatic relations between the two nations, with Trudeau saying justice and resolution are needed.

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