A day before billionaire George Soros made comments on the Adani Group and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar had warned against “doctored narratives” coming in the way of India’s growth.
The vice president, while addressing probationers of the Indian Information Service (IIS) at his official home in Delhi on Wednesday, asked the young officers – who handle the media wing of the government – to guard against “sinister designs” that are trying to harm India’s growth story.
“While India is on the rise, nefarious designs are there to float a narrative by free fall of information. We must be alert. This is another mode of invasion. We must neutralize it boldly. We must instill a spirit of nationalism. We cannot allow the free fall of processed narratives to obliterate our growth story.”
The vice president, giving an example of how the “narrative” works, referred to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“India… is rightly considered in the world as the land of opportunity and the land of investment. But all this can be clouded if our information mechanism is not strong. Imagine and it will flash in your mind – when we were fighting Covid, the narrative was “Where is covid? It is a political tool to sidetrack the problem facing the nation”. You have faced it. Covid came. The government was right,” Dhankhar said.
India is rightly regarded in the world as the land of opportunity and the land of investment. But all this can be clouded if our information mechanism is not strong. @iis_now@IIMC_Indiapic.twitter.com/h4vusIOVIl
— Vice President of India (@VPIndia) 15 February 2023
Mr Dhankhar’s comments also came as income tax officials were conducting an “investigation” at the BBC’s offices in Delhi and Mumbai to check alleged disparities between the income/profits of the British broadcaster’s group companies and their scale of operations in India.
The BBC recently ran a documentary series on Prime Minister Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots, a report which the BJP called “toxic”.
On social media, the BJP and its supporters have alleged a massive conspiracy to undermine India’s growth and have clubbed Soros (92) with this “ecosystem”.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Thursday, Soros said “Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies; their fates are intertwined” and the conglomerate’s troubles would “significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government” and “open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms,” the Financial Times reported.
Shares in the Adani group had fallen sharply before recovering in recent weeks after a US-based short-seller, Hindenburg Research, alleged corporate fraud, an allegation the group vehemently denied.
The BJP has accused Soros of trying to undermine India’s democracy.
“A foreign power at the center who is a man named George Soros has announced that he will damage India’s democratic structure. He has announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be his main target. He has also announced that he will help build a system in India that will protect his interests, not India’s,” Union Minister Smriti Irani told reporters in Delhi.
“This is not just an attempt to damage India’s image, if you listen to him carefully, he is talking about regime change,” she said. “India has always defeated foreign powers when challenged and will continue to defeat them in the future as well.”
(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)