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Political effort underway to depict Narendra Modi Govt in a 'Certain Way': Foreign Minister S Jaishankar in US

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who is visiting the United States of America, said that there is a difference between the “concocted” political imagery and the actual governance record of the government

May 28, 2021 / 11:41 AM IST
S Jaishankar

S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has alleged that a “political effort” is underway to tarnish the Narendra Modi-led government’s image.

Jaishankar, who is visiting the United States of America, said that there is a difference between the “concocted” political imagery and the actual governance record of the government.

“We are actually giving free food to as many as 800 million people. We have put money into the bank accounts of 400 million people. This is what this government did,” Jaishankar said on May 27 during a conversation with former US national security advisor General HR McMaster in a session on ‘India: Opportunities and challenges for a strategic partnership’, presented by the Hoover Institution, according to a report in news agency PTI.

READ: Stronger India-US health partnership can be powerful force to fight COVID-19 globally: S Jaishankar

Jaishankar, first senior minister to visit the US under since President Joe Biden assumed office, is expected to hold talks on bilateral issues in the country. Bilateral trade and Quad cooperation, including enhancing the vaccine production capacity of India as part of the decision that was taken in February, are among the key issues on the table.

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The Foreign Minister said during the conversation in New York that India is going through a "very stressful" time” right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now, if you are feeding more than two and a half times the population of the US and you are funding more than the population of the US and you’re doing this pretty much anonymously. We’re not asking anything more. There is no criteria of discrimination,” he said.

Jaishankar’s comments came on a day when the Union Health Ministry in New Delhi dismissed as “completely baseless” a recent New York Times report on COVID-19 toll in India, saying it is not backed by any evidence.

The report ‘Just how big could India’s true Covid-19 toll be’ published earlier this week estimated 600,000 deaths due to the infection in the country in a conservative scenario, 1.6 million estimated deaths in a more likely scenario and 4.2 million estimated deaths in a worse scenario.

On April 29, Jaishankar had a virtual meeting with Indian ambassadors and high commissioners posted across the world in which he conveyed the message that the “one-sided” narrative in international media — that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government had failed the country by their “incompetent” handling of the second COVID-19 wave — must be countered, according to a report in the Indian Express.

Also, read: In 'warm, comprehensive' meeting with UN chief, S Jaishankar discusses regional challenges, Myanmar

“So I think when you come down to real governance judgments, you find that there is a difference between the political imagery that has been concocted and actually the governance record out there. So I think you should take it for what it is, which is really politics at play. I certainly see that very much as part of a political effort to depict our current government in a certain way,” Jaishankar said in response to a question by McMaster on some “Hindutva policies” that could undermine the secular nature of Indian democracy.

“I think what you are seeing in India is the deepening of democracy, a much broader representation in politics and in leadership positions and in civil society of people,” he said.



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