INDIA’S foreign minister called for a debate on democracy as he slammed billionaire investor George Soros as “old, rich, opinionated and dangerous” for his comments on India.
In a speech ahead of the Munich Security Conference, the billionaire investor Soros on Thursday (16) criticised India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and said while India was a democracy, Modi was not a democrat.
India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a conference in Sydney on Saturday (18) that Soro’s comments were typical of a “Euro Atlantic view”.
He said there was “a debate and conversation that we must have on democracy” as the world becomes “less Euro Atlantic”.
“He is old, rich, opinionated and dangerous, because what happens is, when such people and such views and such organisations – they actually invest resources in shaping narratives,” Jaishankar said in a response to a question about Soros at the Raisina@Sydney conference.
He said India’s voters decided “how the country should run”.
“It worries us. We are a country that went through colonialism, we know the dangers of what happens when there’s outside interference,” the minister added.
His comments came during a speech at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think-tank, which hosted a one-day conference.
Jaishankar said there was an urgent need to “de-risk the global economy”.
He earlier met prime minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, which is seeking to increase its trade with India and reduce its reliance on China.
Australia is part of the Quad security group with India, which also includes the United States and Japan.
In New Delhi, India’s minority affairs minister Smriti Irani suggested that critics like Soros have begun attacking the country after it emerged as the fifth-largest economy.
Soros “has announced his intention to destroy Indian democracy so that people hand-picked by him run the government here”, she claimed.
Soros, 92, had said last week, “Adani Enterprises tried to raise funds in the stock market, but he failed. Adani is accused of stock manipulation and his stock collapsed like a house of cards.
“Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in Parliament.”
“This will significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government and open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms.”
The Adani Group has been under severe pressure since the US short-seller Hindenburg Research on January 24 accused it of accounting fraud and stock manipulation, allegations that the conglomerate has denied as “malicious”, “baseless” and a “calculated attack on India”.
The company has denied any wrongdoing.