NEW DELHI: India on Thursday strongly rejected as “baseless” allegations of its interference in Canadian elections and asserted that the core issue has been Ottawa’s meddling in New Delhi’s internal affairs.
According to Canadian media reports, Canada’s federal commission of inquiry into foreign interference is looking to examine allegations of meddling by India in the last two general elections.
“We have seen media reports about the Canadian commission enquiring into it. We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.
The Canadian federal commission’s terms of reference is primarily to examine the possible interference by China, Russia and other foreign states or non-state actors in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, the CTV News reported.
“It is not the government of India’s policy to interfere in democratic processes of other countries. In fact, quite on the reverse, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs,” Jaiswal said.
“We have been raising this issue regularly with them. We continue to call on Canada to take effective measures to address our core concerns,” he said.
The allegations against India came amid a severe downturn in ties between the two countries following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in September last year of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in Surrey city.
New Delhi rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and accused Canada of giving space to Khalistani extremists targeting India.
India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
India has been asserting that its “core issue” with Canada remained that of the space given to separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country.