The Indian and Pakistani governments tried to interfere in Canada’s general elections in 2019 and 2021, CBC News reported on Friday, citing documents made public by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service a day earlier.

An unclassified summary of the agency’s documents alleged that the Indian government in 2021 had “intent to interfere and likely conducted clandestine activities” in the North American country. The intelligence agency alleged that this may have included using an Indian government proxy agent in Canada.

The summary further alleged that a proxy agent of the Indian government may have provided illegal financial support to pro-India candidates.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service alleged that Indian officials targeted a small number of electoral districts because of New Delhi’s perception that “a portion of Indo-Canadian voters were sympathetic to the Khalistani movement or pro-Pakistan political stances,” according to CBS News.

The Khalistan movement is a separatist campaign to create a country for Sikhs by seceding from India.

The intelligence agency further alleged that Pakistani officials secretly tried to influence Canadian federal politics “with the aim of furthering the Government of Pakistan's interests in Canada”.

In September, an independent commission had been set up by the Canadian government to look into alleged meddling by foreign countries in its general elections in 2019 and 2021. It was constituted in response to reports of alleged Chinese attempts to influence the polls in Canada.

On January 24, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had named India as a foreign interference threat that tried to influence democratic processes in the North American country.

The Indian government in February had rejected the “baseless” allegations that it had tried to influence the democratic processes in Canada . “It is not Government of India’s policy to interfere in the democratic process of other countries,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said at a press briefing.

On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, responding to the allegations, said that his government had taken “significant measures to counter foreign interference”, CBC News reported.

“We have known for many, many years that many different countries take an interest in engaging in Canadian institutions, and sometimes influencing, sometimes interfering in the work of Canadian institutions,” he said.

“I can assure people that we will continue to do everything necessary to prevent interference from whatever country it comes from.”

Diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Ottawa have been strained since September, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the country’s parliament that intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” linking agents of the Indian government in the assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar was gunned down near Vancouver by two masked men in June.

New Delhi rejected Canada’s allegations as “absurd and motivated”. The Indian government also described the claims as Ottawa’s attempt to shift focus from “Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.