Canada-Khalistan Links Strain India Relations

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Tensions between India and Canada have been on the rise due to recent revelations from Indian intelligence regarding the alleged presence of a Khalistan terror network operating within Canada. The dossier, provided by Indian authorities, identifies several Canadian nationals purportedly linked to proscribed groups such as the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) and the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF).

Gurjit Singh Cheema: Truck Driver Turned Alleged Terror Operative
According to Indian intelligence, Gurjit Singh Cheema, a 50-year-old Canadian national originally from Punjab, is an active member of ISYF/KLF and is associated with the ‘Singh Khalsa Sewa Club’ in Toronto. Cheema currently resides in Brampton, Ontario, where he works as a truck driver.

Cheema’s visit to India in 2017 is said to have been for the purpose of operationalizing a module. Upon his arrival in India, he is alleged to have motivated and radicalized Gurpreet Singh Brar and Sukhmanpreet Singh. The dossier also reveals that Cheema lured Sarabjit Singh to join the module.

Cheema is further accused of procuring locally-made pistols and funds for module members in Punjab, purportedly for carrying out terrorist activities. In May 2017, with the assistance of Pakistan-based Lakhvir Singh Rode and the late Harmeet Singh, alias PhD, a KLF operative, Cheema is alleged to have sourced a weapon consignment from across the border for ISYF module members.

Gurjinder Singh Pannu: Alleged Financier and Arms Supplier
Gurjinder Singh Pannu, a 28-year-old Canadian national, is another individual mentioned in the intelligence dossier. Pannu resides in East Hamilton, Ontario, and is an ISYF/KLF activist actively associated with the ‘Singh Khalsa Sewa Club’ in Toronto.

Pannu is alleged to have provided funds to ISYF module members in India in March 2017 for purchasing locally-made weapons and operationalizing their activities. He is also accused of sending funds to an individual named Balkar Singh in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, to facilitate the delivery of locally-made weapons to module members in India.

Like Gurjit Singh Cheema, Pannu is also alleged to have played a role in sourcing a weapon consignment from across the border in May 2017, with the assistance of Pakistan-based Rode and PhD, for ISYF module members.

Gurpreet Singh Brar: Alleged Indoctrinator and Weapon Supplier
Gurpreet Singh Brar, a 38-year-old Canadian national holding Canadian passport No. H1820001, is one of several pro-Khalistani elements mentioned in the intelligence dossier. He resides in Surrey, British Columbia, and is associated with the ‘Singh Khalsa Sewa Club,’ with Cheema as another active member.

The dossier indicates that Brar and Cheema were involved in forming a sub-club named “Singh Khalsa Sewa Club Dagru” in Punjab, under the supervision of Satpal Singh. During his visit to India in March 2016, Gurpreet Singh is alleged to have indoctrinated and motivated individuals to carry out terrorist activities.

Gurpreet Singh is accused of directing individuals to collect weapons, reportedly obtained from various sources, including Cheema and others. These weapons were intended for use by ISYF module members in Punjab.

Strained Relations and Unsubstantiated Allegations
Relations between India and Canada have been strained, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unsubstantiated allegation against India in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. Additionally, when Indian security agencies approached their Canadian counterparts post-2014 with information about Khalistanis taking shelter in their country, Ottawa initially cited a lack of an institutionalized mechanism and stated that intelligence was not evidence.

However, in line with the FBI-RCMP protocol, the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2020. Despite this, concerns persist as the Trudeau government continues to face criticism for allegedly providing a safe haven to Khalistanis for political reasons.

In Summary:

  • Indian intelligence raises concerns over the presence of a Khalistan terror network in Canada.
  • Dossier identifies Canadian nationals linked to ISYF and KLF.
  • Allegations include radicalization, funding, and arms procurement for terrorist activities.
  • Strained India-Canada relations due to unsubstantiated allegations and alleged safe haven for Khalistanis.
  • MoU between Indian NIA and RCMP aims to address intelligence sharing.
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