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‘Influence Game’ Against India': Jaishankar Takes a Jibe at Western Media

© AP Photo / Eugene HoshikoIndian Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar delivers a speech at commemorative lecture of "Nikkei Forum" Friday, March 8, 2024, in Tokyo.
Indian Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar delivers a speech at commemorative lecture of Nikkei Forum Friday, March 8, 2024, in Tokyo. - Sputnik India, 1920, 07.05.2024
Prime Minister Modi has said that the many in the world were trying to "influence" the Indian election process, but Indian voters were capable enough of withstanding the foreign interference.
Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has said that foreign media is involved in an “influence game” against India.
India's top diplomat's comments are apparently directed at US, British and other western media, which has been viewed as growing increasingly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

“Because we are becoming bigger, because we are doing better, because our progress in many ways will shape the rest of the world, the rest of the world is also trying to influence it in different ways,” Jaishankar said during an interaction with students at Hansraj College in Delhi on Tuesday.

“They don’t have to be governments to be influencing it. Often, these are done by media,” the foreign minister said.

Jaishankar remarked that foreign media was trying to "shape opinions" in India.
“If you look today, the kind of comments coming out of the media, the kind of comments to shape opinions to take in a different direction… I think all of these are very much part of the influence game that is going on," he said.
The Indian minister expressed confidence that India was ready to deal with the challenge of narrative shaping, which he described as one of the realities of an increasingly globalised world.

"I think we should be aware of it. We should accept that these are the realities of a globalized world. We should prepare ourselves for it,” stated the Indian foreign minister.

"We respond to these when we have to. And we ignore these at other times," remarked Jaishankar.

The remarks come against the backdrop of negative framing of incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in western media. Various American and British media outlets among others have accused Modi of discriminating against minorities, having a poor human rights track record and cracking down on opposition politicians among others.

India Didn't Hide Oil Purchases from Russia, Unlike Other Countries: Jaishankar

During the interaction at the Delhi University college, Jaishankar also criticised western countries for trying to pressure India into stopping its oil trade with Russia, which since last year has emerged as New Delhi's top crude supplier.

“Many European countries told us not to buy oil from Russia. We were under pressure," Jaishankar said, adding that New Delhi told the western countries that buying Russian crude was in the interest of the Indian consumer.

“We did not hide this. And there were countries, excuse me for saying this, that deceived [about oil purchases from the Russian Federation]. We were very open, we were honest,” Jaishankar stressed.
The top diplomat further called out the Western nations for their twisted moral standards in asking India, with a much lesser per capita income than theirs, to stop buying Russian crude

"Countries where the average annual per capita income is $50,000 were not ready to stop energy supplies from Russia. Because these countries realised that this would create big problems for their citizens. But they are telling us, a country where the annual income is around $2,500, 20 times less, to sacrifice ourselves in their place," Jaishankar remarked.

I told them, look, do you think it’s ethical for you to ask us to do this, so that a poor Indian whose life depends on the cost of gasoline sacrifices himself?” Jaishankar stated.

The tanker Sun Arrows loads its cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Sakhalin-2 project in the port of Prigorodnoye, Russia, on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. - Sputnik India, 1920, 05.05.2024
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