LONDON: Indian intelligence agents working for Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) attempted to use money and disinformation to “covertly influence” Canadian politicians and falsely link Pakistan and its diaspora with “terrorism” through well-funded lobbying, according to a highly sensitive government document.
The document shows that Canadian security officials suspected India’s two main intelligence branches had asked an Indian citizen to sway politicians in this country into supporting Indian government interests, Global News reported.
The paper said the RAW and IB were behind the operation since 2009.
A Canadian government official said that the government “was concerned about any country ’s destabilizing behavior, including interference in other countries’ democratic systems. ”
The disclosure was made in a federal court procedure involving a Canadian national who was accused by the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency of spying on behalf of an Indian spy agency.
The man was only identified as “A.B.” in court records and is the editor-in-chief of an unnamed Indian newspaper. His wife and son are Canadian citizens.
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Allegedly, he has met with Indian intelligence services more than 25 times in six years, the most recent one was in May 2015. This was when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Canada and began to serve his intelligence personnel A month to perform the task.
He has told the court that he encountered Indian intelligence spies only as an editor. The person, who asked not to be named, has confirmed that he was “requested to perform various functions by the IB and RAW.” Court documents say the Indian spy agency wants him to “act as an unofficial lobbyist or diplomat.”
A letter from the immigration officer said to him: “You said that RAW had ordered you to secretly influence Canadian government representatives and institutions to represent the Indian government.”
“You stated that you were tasked by RAW to covertly influence Canadian government representatives and agencies on behalf of the Indian government,” according to a letter sent to him by an immigration official.
“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.”
According to court documents, when he applied for immigration to Canada, a security inspection investigation was triggered.
At least 1.2 million Canadians are of Indian descent. India has always suspected that tens of thousands of Sikhs living in Canada support the Khalistan movement and seek independence from India.
The allegations against RAW in Canadian courts were particularly embarrassing for India, because only in December 2019, a German court admitted that it was recognized as the Indian foreign intelligence agency RAW monitoring Kashmiri and Sikh freedom organizations. judgment.
Court documents show that the couple, named only after Manmohan S and his wife Kanwal Jit K, received more than 7,000 euros (£ 6,000) for remuneration.
Manmohan S was sentenced to 18 months suspended for espionage, while his wife was fined.
The Frankfurt Court was informed that Manmohan S, 51, was recruited by RAW in 2015 and was asked to monitor Kashmir liberals.
“The accused reported on the internal affairs of the Sikh temples in Cologne and Frankfurt, as well as on protest events in the Sikh community,” a court statement said.
Since July 2017, he has participated in regular meetings with Indian intelligence personnel and has been paid 200 euros per month for the information provided.
Also in December 2019, a global network of pro-Indian vacation sites and think tanks established by RAW in Europe appeared to influence European decision-making, benefit India and oppose Pakistan.
A report from Brussels-based non-governmental organization EU Disinfo Lab shows that a coordinated network of 265 sites spreads across 65 countries. It was also found that the network involved groups responsible for European anti-Pakistan lobbying activities.
“More than the fake media outlets alone, it is their combination with the fake NGOs that’s really worrying because it provides a mirage of online and grassroots support to a cause. That’s exactly where the disinformation lies,” Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU Disinfo Lab, said.