The allegation of India’s involvement in the killing of a Sikh Canadian is based on surveillance of Indian diplomats in Canada.
This includes intelligence provided by a major ally, a Canadian official told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The official said the communications involved Indian officials and diplomats in Canada and that some of the intelligence was provided by a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to Canada.
The anonymous official did not say which ally provided intelligence, nor did they give details of what was contained in the communications or how they were obtained.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation first reported the intelligence.
The revelation came as India stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens and told Canada to reduce its diplomatic staff as the rift widened over allegations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of suspected Indian involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh separatist.
Ties between the two countries have plunged to their lowest point in years after Mr Trudeau told Parliament on Monday there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the assassination on Canadian soil.
Mr Nijjar, a plumber who was born in India and became a Canadian citizen in 2007, had been wanted by India for years before he was gunned down in June outside the temple he led in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver.
Speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Mr Trudeau acknowledged the complicated diplomatic situation.
“The decision to share these allegations on the floor of the House of Commons was not done lightly,” he said. “There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with.”
“We are not looking to provoke or cause problems but we are unequivocal around the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians.”
The bombshell allegation set off an international tit-for-tat, with each country expelling a diplomat. India called the allegations “absurd.”
Canada has yet to provide public evidence to back Mr Trudeau’s allegations and the country’s UN ambassador Bob Rae indicated that might not come soon.
“This is very early days,” Mr Rae said on Thursday, saying that while facts will emerge, they must “come out in the course of the pursuit of justice.”
“That’s what we call the rule of law in Canada,” he said.
The company that processes Indian visas in Canada announced services had been suspended.
Canadians are among the top travellers to India with 277,000 Canadian tourists visiting the country in 2022, according to India’s Bureau of Immigration.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi blamed the visa suspension, which includes visas issued in third countries, on safety issues.
“Security threats being faced by our High Commission and consulates in Canada have disrupted their normal functioning,” Mr Bagchi told reporters. He gave no details on the alleged threats.