Australia’s domestic intelligence chief says he has “no reason to dispute” claims of a possible link between the Indian government and the killing of a Canadian citizen.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month said there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian government agents and the death of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India rejected the accusations as “absurd” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in response.
Asked for his assessment of Canada’s allegations, Australia Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Director General Mike Burgess told the ABC he would have “no reason to dispute what the Canadian government has said in this matter”.
Mr Burgess was speaking in California on the sidelines of an historic public gathering of Five Eyes intelligence partners, of which Australia and Canada are both members.
“There’s no doubt any allegation of any country being accused of carrying out an execution of a citizen in that country, it’s a serious allegation, and something that we don’t do and something that nations should not do,”ASIO Chief
“Whether or not it will happen here, I wouldn’t publicly speculate, I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Mr Burgess said.
“I can assure you that when we find governments interfering in our country, or planning to interfere in our country, we will deal with them effectively.”
Mr Nijjar was an outspoken supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan and had been designated a “terrorist” by the Indian government.
Some Australian Sikh leaders have backed Canada’s accusations and say Mr Nijjar’s death has made them fearful of similar violence taking place in their communities.
Mr Burgess said there was a difference between community tensions, like those which have flared over a vote held as part of the Khalistan movement, and foreign interference on the part of the Indian government.