Canada has accused India and Pakistan of meddling in its elections - a charge unequivocally rejected by India. Canada's spy agency released an unclassified summary tabled as part of a federal inquiry examining potential foreign interference, alleging clandestine activities by both India and Pakistan during the 2019 and 2021 general elections. India has called the probe 'baseless' and said that it is Canada who has been interfering in their internal affairs.The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) summary points to concerted efforts by India and Pakistan to influence Canada's electoral processes. India, however, vehemently denies these allegations, dismissing them as baseless and redirecting the focus to what it perceives as Canada's meddling in its internal affairs.

The CSIS documents allege that in 2021, the Indian government targeted specific electoral districts believed to harbour Indian-origin voters sympathetic to the Khalistani movement or pro-Pakistan stances. The agency alleged that a government proxy agent may have attempted to sway democratic processes through illicit financial support to favored candidates, potentially remaining undisclosed to the recipients.

Similarly, in 2019, officials from the Pakistani government purportedly engaged in clandestine activities aimed at advancing Pakistan's interests within Canada's political landscape.

While India refuted the claims and assured its commitment to non-interference in other nations' democratic processes, Canada's inquiry into foreign meddling has escalated tensions in already strained ties between the two countries.

Foreign Meddling Charges In January, Canada announced its intention to investigate allegations of foreign interference in its national elections, with a particular focus on India, according to a Bloomberg report.

"We have seen media reports about the Canadian commission enquiring into ...We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in February.

"It is not the government of India's policy to interfere in the democratic processes of other countries. In fact, quite on the reverse, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs," he added.

The decision to launch a public inquiry came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initiated the process last year in response to leaked intelligence reports suggesting China had attempted to influence Canadian elections by backing candidates sympathetic to President Xi Jinping's regime.

The appointed commissioner for the inquiry was mandated to probe potential interference by various actors, including India, China, Russia, and other governmental and non-governmental entities during both the 2019 and 2021 election cycles.

India-Canada Relations Mr Trudeau's previous allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil have become a flashpoint in bilateral relations between the two nations.

Despite India's dismissal of these allegations as absurd, the fallout resulted in diplomatic repercussions, including the temporary suspension of visas for Canadians and a reduction in diplomatic presence.

In February, India's designation as a "foreign threat" by Canadian intelligence, alongside China and Russia, intensified the diplomatic rift. (NDTV)