The US’ Double-Dealing In The Indian-Canadian Dispute Risks Ruining Ties With Delhi
The Indian-Canadian dispute has evolved into an Indian-US one as a result of the second’s liberal-globalist faction sharing alleged intelligence with Ottawa regarding June’s incident and then stoking fear among American Sikhs that they too might supposedly be next. All of this was occurring behind Delhi’s back as well as this faction’s pragmatic rivals’, which thus represents two levels of double-dealing with respect to International Relations and internal policymaking dynamics.
One of America’s grand strategic achievements this century so far has been the comprehensive expansion of relations with India, but the future of their hard-earned partnership is now in doubt due to the distrust that’s sure to taint it after the New York Times’ (NYT) bombshell report on Saturday. That outlet cited unnamed Western allied officials, presumably from the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance, to inform their audience that “U.S. Provided Canada With Intelligence on Killing of Sikh Leader”.
Since the NYT’s journalists claimed that neither American nor Canadian officials contributed to their report, it can therefore be surmised that their sources were Australian, British, and/or Kiwi. According to them, the information was shared after the incident, but it was supposedly Canada’s interception of Indian diplomats’ communications that served as the so-called “smoking gun” in this case. The report interestingly doesn’t mention whether the US later informed India of what it passed along to Canada.
Nevertheless, this is already an extremely scandalous revelation in and of itself, though it also isn’t surprising either. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks about this incident on Friday, which were analyzed here, strongly hinted that Washington was biased in favor of Ottawa. The American Ambassador to Canada’s subsequent disclosure the day after that “There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this” also hinted at some level of secret US involvement.
Later that day right before the NYT’s report was published, The Intercept reported that “FBI Warned Sikhs In The U.S. About Death Threats After Killing Of Canadian Activist”. These preceding developments preconditioned the public for accepting this “newspaper of record’s” bombshell shortly afterwards. Considering the secrecy that’s characterized this case so far, it can’t be ruled out that those unnamed Western officials might be covering up for the US’ possible role in setting this whole scandal into motion.
After all, Edward Snowden’s famous leaks proved the ubiquity of the US’ intelligence collection capabilities so it’s not far-fetched to speculate that they might have indeed come across something relevant that tipped their Canadian counterparts off about alleged Indian threats. That could explain why Canada was reportedly spying on Indian diplomats in the first place and thus supposedly came across their “smoking gun”. The US might also have passed along that selfsame “gun” on its own too.
Regardless of however events truly transpired, the NYT’s sources confirmed some level of secret US involvement that had hitherto only been speculated, but which wasn’t baseless as was explained. This contradicts the spirit of the Indian-US Strategic Partnership that both sides had worked so hard over the past three decades to cultivate, which hints at some subterfuge within America’s policymaking circles and particularly among members of its intelligence services.
At present, credible reasons exist beyond the scope of this piece to explain to conclude that there are nowadays two fiercely competing factions, the liberal-globalists and their comparatively more pragmatic rivals. The first are ideologues who are obsessed with imposing their so-called “values” onto everyone else, with Russia being their primary target but definitely not their only one right now, while the second want America to adapt to multipolarity by placing objective national interests above all else.
In the context of Indian-US relations, the liberal-globalists wanted to continue pressuring that country to comply with demands to condemn and sanction Russia even at the expense of their shared interests in containing China, while the pragmatists wanted to prioritize the aforesaid geopolitical goal instead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the US in early June showed that the pragmatists won out in this debate, but it’s now known in hindsight that the liberal-globalists were plotting to sabotage their ties.
This hypothesis isn’t a “conspiracy theory” since it’s predicated on the precedent established during the Trump Administration when liberal-globalist elements within the US’ intelligence agencies actively worked to sabotage the former leader’s envisaged rapprochement with Russia for ideological reasons. Similarly, they were also working to sabotage the Biden Administration’s envisaged global strategic partnership with India across the rest of this century as can be intuited by the NYT’s report.
That’s not to suggest that the alleged intelligence that was passed along to Canada is accurate since it could very well have been fabricated or manipulated, but just to point out that this sharing wouldn’t have happened if there was unanimity among policy influencers over the future of Indian-US ties. The fierce rivalry between the liberal-globalists and pragmatists cogently accounts for the sequence of events that played out since June’s incident and accordingly raises questions about the future of their relations.
From India’s perspective, it can no longer be assumed that America is a rational or even a unity actor after the liberal-globalist faction’s attempted sabotage of their strategic partnership throughout the course of this scandal. The pragmatists’ influence over policy formulation isn’t absolute like was previously thought, and their rational plans to comprehensively expand cooperation despite certain ideological differences in pursuit of their shared geopolitical goals vis-a-vis China aren’t set in stone.
These observations show that the Indian-Canadian dispute has evolved into an Indian-US one as a result of the liberal-globalists sharing alleged intelligence with Ottawa regarding June’s incident and then stoking fear among American Sikhs that they too might supposedly be next. All of this was occurring behind Delhi’s back as well as this faction’s pragmatic rivals’, which thus represents two levels of double-dealing with respect to International Relations and internal policymaking dynamics.
The Modi Administration, which is responsible for India’s rise as a globally significant Great Power and restoring its 1.4 billion people’s civilizational pride, is unlikely to remain silent after the NYT’s bombshell report about America’s role in their country’s dispute with Canada. It’s unclear how exactly they’ll respond, but whatever they choose to do will convey that the liberal-globalist faction’s subterfuge of their ties is unacceptable and risks ruining their planned century-long strategic partnership.
In parallel with that, it’s expected that academia, civil society, and the media will continue to present a united front in the face of this sudden political crisis and probably go much further than their officials by expressing much harsher condemnation of the US. In practice, this could also take the form of exposing its ties with regional groups that India considers to be terrorists, such as the slew of Pakistani-based ones. Society and the world at large might be reminded of the US’ historical duplicity, too.
If the pragmatists can’t regain control of their country’s internal policymaking dynamics, not to mention if the liberal-globalists successfully seize control of US policy towards India, then the future of their planned century-long strategic partnership will be in doubt. Without being able to rely on one another like before, India might double down on the Russian dimension of its grand strategy while the US pivots towards Pakistan and explores a rapprochement with China, which would reshape the global balance.
That aforesaid outcome isn’t yet a fait accompli, but it’ll be very difficult to prevent at least part of it from materializing after the massive damage that the past few days’ events just inflicted on Indian-US ties. America’s double-dealing already had the effect of dispelling Indians’ prior impression of the US as a rational and unitary actor, to say nothing of the distrust that all this just sowed between them. The coming week will therefore be pivotal since these trends will either be contained or spiral out of control.