NEW DELHI: The US seemed to dial up support for Canada in the latter’s diplomatic spat with India over the killing of Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar as it said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation about India’s involvement was based on “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners”. This was even as New Delhi reiterated that Canada’s claim of India’s role was not backed by any specific information or evidence shared with Indian authorities.
The remark by US ambassador to Canada David Cohen about shared Five Eyes intelligence — in an interview to CTV News — is probably the strongest endorsement of Trudeau’s claim that he’s talking about the slaying of Nijjar on the basis of “credible” intelligence.
It’s also the first official confirmation that Canada’s Five Eyes partners — the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand — are aware of the intelligence informing Trudeau’s position on the issue.
The US had so far restricted itself to saying the allegations are serious and to calling upon India to facilitate the probe. Cohen’s remarks followed another claim by Trudeau late on Friday that Canada had shared “credible allegations” with India several weeks ago.
Indian officials, however, maintained there was no specific piece of information that was shared by Canada with Indian authorities to back its claims. “There has been no specific or actionable information, let alone evidence,” said a government source who did not want to be named.
Cohen said though that there was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the prime minister made”. He did not disclose the nature of the intelligence available with the partners.
Shortly after India called Canada a terrorist haven for condoning the anti-India activities of Khalistan supporters, Canadian authorities had claimed in anonymous media leaks that some of the “human and signals” intelligence about Nijjar’s killing came from a Five Eyes ally. Cohen, however, did not confirm that the US was the ally that shared that intelligence with Canada.
With their intelligence sharing alliance, the Five Eyes typically consult each other on issues related to global terrorism and transnational crimes.
For the US, Canada is not just a steadfast and indispensable ally but also its largest and most secure energy source. Despite India having dismissed Canada’s allegations as unsubstantiated and absurd, the US — from ambassador Eric Garcetti here to NSA Jake Sullivan and finally secretary of state Antony Blinken himself — have urged India to join the probe saying that the allegations are very serious.

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