Canadian intelligence agencies have gathered substantial evidence, including communications involving Indian officials, in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, sources have revealed.
The Canadian government sources said the intelligence includes also the communications involving Indian diplomats present in Canada.
The revelation has escalated tensions between Canada and India, with diplomatic efforts behind the scenes failing to find common ground.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was fatally shot outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C., on June 18.
It has been reported that he had been warned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about potential risks to his life. The investigation into his murder has uncovered a web of international implications.
Canada's National Security and Intelligence Adviser, Jody Thomas, undertook multiple visits to India in an attempt to secure Indian cooperation in the investigation. These visits coincided with a tense meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Canadian sources indicate that Indian officials, when pressed privately, have not contradicted the serious allegation at the heart of this case. They did not deny the potential involvement of the Indian government in the assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil.
Prime Minister Trudeau has stressed the seriousness of these allegations, saying that the decision to share them in the House of Commons was made with utmost gravity. However, Canada has not yet released its evidence and suggests that it could surface during a legal process in the future.
The dispute between the two nations has already resulted in the expulsion of diplomats from both sides. India has ceased processing visitor visas for Canada. Canada is contemplating retaliation but has not yet made a decision.
In Washington, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed that the United States has been in contact with Canada and high-level Indian officials regarding the matter.
He stressed that the US takes this issue seriously and will continue to support the investigation, irrespective of the country involved.
The international reverberations of this case have extended to the recent G20 summit, where US President Joe Biden and other Five Eyes members reportedly discussed the murder with Prime Minister Modi. However, details of Modi's awareness or involvement remain undisclosed.
As the investigation unfolds, the implications for higher-ranking Indian officials remain uncertain.