The "Five Eyes" alliance includes the English-speaking countries, namely the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, an old alliance officially established in 1946, at the beginning of the Cold War, and derives its name from the letter (i), which stands for intelligence security information, which shares with "eye", (Eye), in the similarity of pronunciation and meaning, the eye also refers to surveillance, examination and verification.
The five coalition countries exchange security information related to their citizens in order to fight organized crime and defeat potential threats to their internal security, and any of their citizens who commits a crime or violation of security cannot travel to any of the coalition countries, because his country provides information related to him to the rest of the members.
The alliance was built on the success of intelligence and information cooperation between Britain and America during World War II, and began with only Britain and America members, but Britain sought to expand it by virtue of its close cultural and political relations with the other three countries under the British crown, namely Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which Canada joined in 1948, and Australia and New Zealand in 1956.
Another Western security alliance called Nine Eyes includes, in addition to the Five Eyes members, four other countries: France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. In addition to the two previous security alliances, there is a broader Western security alliance, the Fourteen Eyes coalition, which includes, in addition to the Nine Eyes, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Sweden.
There is no doubt that security cooperation now includes many other Western countries, including the European Union, which includes 27 countries, all Western countries that seek to integrate into one country in the future, and now have organized security cooperation. Other countries in Asia, Africa, and South America are allied with or close to the United States and the West in general, such as Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand, and are in their interest to cooperate with Western security alliances.
We must not forget the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which includes 57 countries spread over four continents, including large countries such as the United States, small countries such as Andorra and San Marino, and moral states such as the Vatican. There are even other countries involved and cooperating with it in other regions, including Australia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Southeast Asia.
In a speech to the Canadian parliament, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being behind the assassination of Canadian Sikh citizen Hardeep Singh Najjar, whom India considers a terrorist for his sympathy with Sikh separatists, who demand the establishment of a Sikh state (Khalistan) in the Indian province of Punjab.
The Canadian accusation was not just a passing protest, but was followed by consultation with the United States and Britain on the matter, which Canada considers very serious, and the Canadian government appears to have evidence to justify this accusation, although India strongly denied having any connection to the incident, which occurred outside the Sikh temple (Gurdwara) in Vancouver. Trudeau said he had discussed the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recent G20 summit in Delhi and "expected India to cooperate in the ongoing investigation into this crime."
In his speech to Parliament, Trudeau said that "any involvement of a foreign country in the assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is unacceptable and constitutes a violation of Canadian sovereignty."
The Prime Minister's speech was followed by the announcement by Canadian Foreign Minister Melni Jolie of the removal of the director of the Indian Intelligence Agency in Canada, which prompted India to deport a Canadian diplomat and suspend the issuance of visas to Canadian travelers to India at the Indian embassy. India's foreign ministry also categorically denied what it called "unreasonable accusations" made by Canada against India, saying Canada had not provided India with any evidence of the accusations. At the same time, Canada has been accused of harboring "Khalistan separatist terrorists."
Khalistan's case was hot in the eighties and nineties, as Sikh sympathizers from India's prominent Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's bodyguards assassinated her on October 31, 1984, sparking a wave of anti-Sikh violence in India. Experts estimate the number of victims of such violence at eight thousand. But interest in the case has waned greatly in the last twenty years, so the assassination of the Sikh activist in Canada could bring it back to the fore.
The Indian opposition, the Indian Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi, grandson of slain Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, did not differ in its rhetoric from the government, condemning what it called "terrorism" and calling on the government not to tolerate it. Several Indian editorials also referred to Canada's "failure to deal with Sikh extremism," accusing the Canadian prime minister of "collusion" with terrorists.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not hide his displeasure with the Canadian government during the recent G20 summit hosted by India, as he singled out Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, with a strange reception, which seemed comical and reprehensible, as he wrapped his neck with a white silk scarf during the reception! While Modi held long talks with G20 leaders, his meeting with the Canadian prime minister lasted only ten minutes.
The Indian prime minister is known to be a populist, and he attaches the utmost importance to stoking nationalist passions among his followers in order to stimulate enthusiasm, especially as he prepares for a general election next year. This is encouraged by India's continued economic growth, India's progress in many areas, especially in the field of foreign policy, and Western countries' interest in India to replace China as a superpower. But dealing with other countries must be consistent with international norms and laws, and must be free from the personal targeting of officials, in order to be fruitful.
Canada is a globally important country, with a diverse ethnic and religious people, with more than 800,<> Sikh Canadian citizens, according to Times magazine, a democracy and a founding member of NATO and the Group of Seven industrialized countries. In addition to being a neighbor of the United States, it enjoys close relations with it, in addition to its historical and security ties with Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union.
The Canadian government's resort to consulting with the United States and Britain in the case of the assassination of the Sikh activist reflects the utmost importance that Canada attaches to India's behavior, which has become a concern for other countries, at a time when Western countries, including Canada, are seeking to strengthen their relations with India in order to distance it from China.
Despite the critical situation and timing, the United States, Britain and Australia, members of the "Five Eyes" coalition, cannot neglect the accusation that Canadian Prime Minister India was behind the assassination on Canadian soil, which did not come out of nowhere, so they were forced to issue statements expressing "deep concern over the accusations referred to by the Canadian Prime Minister" and calling on India to cooperate with Canada in investigating the case.
Canada has witnessed terrorist acts related to the Khalistan case, as Sikh extremists blew up an Air India passenger plane flying from Montreal to London in 1985, killing all 329 passengers, most of whom were Canadians. Canadian authorities have consistently stood up to Sikh extremists demanding independence, but this has apparently not been enough to please India.
There is no doubt that the rupture of India-Canada relations will have a negative impact on the Indian economy, as India is Canada's tenth trading partner in terms of size, and it is disturbing the evolving relations between India and the five, nine, and fourteen "eyes" group. For example, the Canadian Pension Board (PPC) fund has invested nearly $20 billion in India, according to The Economist.
India's behavior with Canada, if Trudeau's accusations are to be believed, will worry the United States, Britain, Australia and other countries that host Sikh minorities, some of whose members support Khalistan's cause. Experts believe India's RAO intelligence service, which was set up in 1968 with US help to gather information on China, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries, is the first defendant in the case.
With Nahrendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) being hard-line in embracing Indian nationalist causes, it is hard to expect the top political leadership to be behind such operations, which harm India's relations with other countries, destabilize its rising international position, and refuel the Sikh cause in India at a time when very few people adopt them.
It is not expected that this issue will confuse Indian relations with the West, as there are many more important issues, especially the crisis situation with China and Russia, but it constitutes a warning about the Indian government's treatment of its opponents, and the possibilities of this affecting Sikh citizens in Western countries, especially America, Britain and Canada, which embrace large Sikh communities.