Sydney: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Saturday lashed out at hedge fund manager-turned-philanthropist George Soros over the latter’s comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Adani Group and Hindenburg report, and called the billionaire investor “old, rich, opinionated and dangerous”.
While addressing the media in Sydney, Australia, Jaishankar said Soros’ comments were typical of a “Euro Atlantic view”. He also pointed out that there was “a debate and conversation that we must have on democracy”, including whose values defined democracy as the world rebalanced and became less Euro-Atlantic.
“Soros is an old, rich, opinionated person sitting in New York, who still thinks that his views should determine how the entire world works. Now, if I could only stop at old, rich and opinionated, I would put it away but he is old, rich, opinionated and dangerous,” Jaishankar said responding to a question at a session at the Raisina@Sydney Dialogue, news agency PTI reported.
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,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“We know the dangers of what happens when there’s outside interference … if you do this kind of scaremongering, like millions of people will be deprived of citizenship, it actually does real damage to our societal fabric. 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,” the External Affairs Minister added.
The nonagenarian billionaire investor stoked controversy during a speech he made ahead of the Munich Security Conference on Friday. “It (India) is a democracy, but its leader, Narendra Modi, is no democrat. Inciting violence against Muslims was an important factor in his meteoric rise. Modi maintains close relations with both open and closed societies.”
Soros then said that “Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies”, “their fate is intertwined”, “Adani is accused of stock manipulation”, and “Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in Parliament”.