Ottawa/New Delhi: Amid the increasing activities of separatist Sikh groups, a high-level team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited Canada at the invitation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), for “better coordinating investigation against entities and individuals suspected of terrorism and to discuss other criminal matters”.
The NIA team, led by an Inspector General of Police, visited Canada on November 4-5.
According to reports, the NIA was in Canada to probe the foreign funding links of terrorist organisations like Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and other pro-Khalistani groups Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Zindabad Force, and Khalistan Tiger Force. Sikh For Justice is banned by the Indian government for its terror-related activities. The foreign funding routes of these separatist groups from Canada, the UK, USA, Australia, France and Germany will be probed.
According to a statement from the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, the NIA team held detailed discussions with senior RCMP officials to “collate evidence on several ongoing investigations into cases of terrorism and other serious crimes in order to bring about successful prosecution of the accused in both India and Canada”.
Indian High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria, in a tweet, said: “The India-Canada strategic partnership also leads to robust cooperation in investigating crime and terrorism. RCMP and NIA are working together to keep India and Canada safer.”
The NIA and RCMP officials also discussed issues related to evidentiary requirements in India and Canada and possible cooperation for capacity building in police investigation between the two agencies. The NlA delegation held additional meetings with the International Crime and Counter-Terrrorism Bureau of Global Affairs Canada and with senior officials from the International Affairs Division of Public Safety Canada, with a view to deepening and expanding lndia-Canada collaboration on counter-terrorism and interdiction of global terrorist financing, the statement said.
The Indian delegation invited their Canadian counterparts to visit India at their earliest convenience to continue the ongoing collaboration between police agencies.
“India and Canada share common views on the need for strong concerted action against global terrorism and for curtailing terror financing.”
“The police and security agencies of the two countries pursue investigation, prosecution and suppression of crime, including crime related to terrorism, through cooperation and mutual assistance in criminal matters. The two countries have a range of ongoing bilateral mechanisms including a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism. The two countries had signed a treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters in 1994 and have an Extradition Treaty since 1987, it said.
Earlier this year, to instigate protesting farmers in Delhi, SFJ had announced a reward of USD 2.5 lakh for those who will hoist a Khalistani flag on the Red Fort on Republic Day. Designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of SFJ, in a video, had tried to link the farmers’ protest with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
In August, the Punjab Police had registered a case against Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) over his assassination threat to then Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.