Indian intelligence tried to influence Canada’s politicians with money, disinformation: report

Updated 20 Apr 2020

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) extends his hand for a handshake with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2018. – Reuters Photo
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) extends his hand for a handshake with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2018. – Reuters Photo

India used money and disinformation to secretly influence Canadian politicians into supporting its interests overseas, according to a report published by the news arm of Canadian broadcaster Global Television Network.

The report, which has been based on federal court proceedings and a highly sensitive government document obtained by Global News, claims Canadian authorities suspect India's premier intelligence agencies – The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) – were running an underground operation since 2009, allegedly to influence Canada's politicians.

For this operation, the report says, Canada believes Indian agencies used the chief editor of an unnamed Indian publication. It adds that the wife and kids of that editor are Canadian nationals and a secret security investigation against him began when he applied to immigrate to Canada.

Details of alleged Indian involvement were first revealed in a Canadian federal court, where Canadian authorities accused the said editor – referred to as AB in the document seen by Global News – of espionage.

The report claims that the accused Indian national allegedly met Indian intelligence officials more than two dozen times over a period of six years.

Among the allegations brought on against him by Canadian authorities, one of his assigned tasks was “to convince politicians that funding from Canada was being sent to Pakistan to support terrorism.”

“You stated that you were tasked by RAW to covertly influence Canadian government representatives and agencies on behalf of the Indian government,” read a letter sent to him by an immigration official, seen by Global News.

“You stated that you were told to identify random Caucasian politicians and attempt to direct them into supporting issues that impacted India,” the letter continued.

“You stated that the guidance from RAW included that you were to provide financial assistance and propaganda material to politicians in order to exert influence over them.”

Denying allegations he was working for Indian intelligence to influence Canadian politicians, the accused claimed he only met the officials in his capacity as an editor, the report says.

But according to court documents seen by Global News, the man did acknowledge that he was asked by Indian intelligence agencies to “perform various functions” as an “unofficial lobbyist or diplomat” even as he claimed he had refused to work for them.