Canada’s National Security Committee to Look Into Justin Trudeau’s India Trip

The national security and oversight committee will examine foreign interference in Canadian political affairs.


Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) is conducting a special review of the allegations raised in context of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to India in February, specifically those relating to foreign interference in Canadian political affairs, risks to the security of the prime minister, and inappropriate use of intelligence, it said in a statement on April 9.

The committee is also reviewing the security and intelligence operating procedures in relation to diplomatic and foreign visits involving the government of Canada.

The special review stems from the Jaspal Atwal controversy that took place during Trudeau’s trip to India. Atwal, an Indo-Canadian convicted for attempt to murder an Indian politician in 1986 in Vancouver, was present at events in India attended by Trudeau, his Cabinet ministers and family.

Canadian Member of Parliament Randeep S. Sarai took responsibility for inviting Atwal to Trudeau’s reception dinner in New Delhi, according to ANI.

Conservative senators in Canada earlier introduced a motion in the parliament, asking Trudeau’s national security adviser Daniel Jean to appear before the Senate defense and security committee to answer questions about the trip. The motion was later amended and the NSICOP agreed to examine the incidents in confidentiality.

Jean told the Canadian media after Trudeau’s return in February that rogue factions in the Indian government facilitated Atwal’s presence at those events since they did not want Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trudeau to have amicable relations, according to CBC. The theory floated by him blamed some unnamed Indian officials for holding grudges against Canada for being soft on Khalistan supporters.

In response, India called the accusations “baseless” and “unacceptable.”

The issue did not die down with Jean’s media briefing since the Conservatives demanded that he inform them about the details of the India visit as well. The Trudeau administration initially refused the proposal but later agreed to the committee’s probe into the “risks to the security of the prime minister and inappropriate use of intelligence” following a move by the Conservatives to hold a marathon voting  over the Atwal incident.

The frosty relationship between the two countries continues weeks after Trudeau’s visit to India. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has cancelled a bilateral meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland that was expected to take place in the last week of April, according to the Hindustan Times. The meeting was reportedly scheduled during Freeland’s trip to India. The Indian External Affairs Ministry, however, said that no meeting had been scheduled, the report added.

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