The five eyes intelligence alliance that includes includes the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand other than Canada backed Canada’s allegations against India in connection with the murder of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. However, some countries of the alliance have refused to join Canada to publicly denounce or issue a joint statement on the findings of the probe. Partner countries in this alliance share a wide range of intelligence with one another in a unified multilateral arrangement.
As per a source cited by the Washington Post, although the Five Eyes Alliance publicly condemn the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, they “privately raised” the issue before the G20 Summit.
Trudeau in Parliament claimed that the Canadian Intelligence Reports have established a link between Nijjar’s murder and the Indian Government. He added that he had raised the issue with PM Modi during the G20 summit. Trudeau had urged India "in the strongest possible terms’’ to cooperate with Canada . Rai, for his alleged involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canada followed the allegation with expulsion of a senior dian Diplomat, Pavan Kumar from Canada. India called Trudeau’s claims absurd and retaliated by expelling the Canadian diplomat from New Delhi. India-Canada relations have been under severe tension since the rise in anti-India activities and the uprise of Khalistani Separatist Movements in Canada.
Five Eye Intelliegence Alliance Reaction
The US expressed concern over Trudeau’s claim about India’s role. "We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau earlier today," White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding, “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”
James Cleverly, British Foreign Secretary said that the UK government backed a Canadian probe in Hardeep’s murder case. He tweeted, “All countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. We are in regular contact with our Canadian partners about serious allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament. Important that Canada’s investigation runs its course and the perpetrators brought to justice.”
Reuters reported that a British government spokesperson on Tuesday, September 19, said that it was in close touch with its Canadian partners about the “serious allegations”. “It would be inappropriate to comment further during the ongoing investigation by the Canadian authorities,” they said.
Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong claimed to have conveyed the country’s concerns on the developments to India at “senior levels” “Australia is deeply concerned by these allegations and notes ongoing investigations into this matter. Australia believes all countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. We are closely engaged with partners on developments. We have conveyed our concerns at senior levels to India," their spokesperson said in a statement. The statement underlined how the issue could impact Australia with its large Indian diaspora. “We understand these reports will be particularly concerning to some Australian communities. The Indian diaspora are valued and important contributors to our vibrant and resilient multicultural society, where all Australians can peacefully and safely express their views” they added. However, Australian PM Anthony Albanese said on the alliance, “I don’t talk about Five Eyes intelligence at a press conference...we don’t speculate on what intelligence is.”
While these countries have expressed concern, as part of the five eye intelligence alliance, the US and Australia are also India’s partners of the Quad group of countries which have evolved to counter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific. When India summoned the Canadian high commissioner in July, Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar also expressed concern about the activities of Khalistan groups in all four Western countries.“We have already requested our partner countries like Canada, the US, the UK and Australia where sometimes Khalistani activities happen, not to give space to Khalistanis. Because their (Khalistanis) radical, extremist thinking is neither good for us nor for them nor our relations,” he said in July.
The Washington Post reported that Canada had asked the Five Eyes alliance members to jointly announce the findings of the probe. But some members, including the United States declined “underscoring the lengths the Biden administration has gone to avoid antagonizing India and court the Asian power as a strategic counterweight to China”.
However, a source to the Washington Post confirmed that not all members agreed, who claimed that they did not feel comfortable taking such a step when India was organising a major diplomatic event-the G-20 summit in New Delhi. Instead, the matter was privately raised by several senior officials from the Five Eyes countries in the weeks before the summit.