New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday tore into billionaire investor George Soros’ remarks criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming the 92-year-old US philanthropist as “an old, rich, opinionated and dangerous” person who doesn’t care about the choice of the 1.4 billion people of India who decide how the country should run.
Responding to a question at the Raisina@Sydney Dialogue in Sydney, Jaishankar said that people like Soros “think an election is good if the person we want to see wins; if the election throws up a different outcome, then we actually will say it’s a flawed democracy”.
“But you have to understand what this actually means..I could take the view that the individual in question, Mr Soros, is an old rich, opinionated person, sitting in New York, who still thinks that his views determine how the entire world works. Now, if I could still stop at old, rich and opinionated, I could put it away. But he’s old, rich, opinionated and dangerous.
“You know, because what happens is when such people, and such views and such organisations, they actually invest resources in shaping narratives…
“You know I spoke about globalisation. What globalisation does is it actually creates a lot of.. the seamlessness of globalisation creates all the opportunities; also allows narratives to be shared, money to come in, foundations to go about their agenda.. In this particular case, it is very clear that he has very strong political preferences.
“He actually thinks.. doesn’t matter that this is a country of nearly 1.4 billion people whose voters decide how the country should run. He actually thinks, well, you know and I cite him as an extreme example, but there are other manifestations of this in different countries where people like him think an election is good if the person we want to see wins, if the election throws up a different outcome, then we actually will say it’s a flawed democracy.
“And the beauty is that all this is done under the pretence of advocacy of open society, transparency etc.
“Our generation, we have grown up with concepts like regime change which influence operations; you can call it what you will, but to me this really looks the same with the gloss of some kind of do-goodism on it.
“So, for me it’s actually necessary that we have today a serious conversation on democracy. When I look at my democracy, I have today a voter turnout which is unprecedented, of electoral outcomes which are decisive, electoral processes which are not questioned. We are not those countries where after an election somebody goes to arbitrate in court.. or where you actually say I will sit in judgement over the verdict of voters,” he said in a dig at the US.
Speaking at the Munich Conference, Geoge Soros, 92, said that Indian business tycoon Gautam Adani’s recent troubles in the stock market would spur “democratic revival in India” and Prime Minister Modi will “have to answer questions”.