The US-based Freedom House recently demoted India's freedom score from free to partly free, saying rights and civil liberties had been eroding since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
EAM S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday responded to foreign institutions that recently demoted India’s freedom score and democracy status. He said it was hypocrisy by a set of people and that India did not need certification from this lot. The US-based Freedom House recently demoted India’s freedom score from free to partly free, saying rights and civil liberties had been eroding since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. The fifth annual democracy report of Sweden’s V-Dem Institute’s report downgraded India from largest democracy to being an electoral ‘autocracy’.
Responding to these developments, EAM Jaishankar said at India Today Conclave-South: “You use the dichotomy of democracy and autocracy – but it’s hypocrisy. It’s hypocrisy because you have a set of self-appointed custodians of the world who find it very difficult to stomach that somebody in India is not looking for their approval, is not willing to play the game they want it to be played. So they invent their rules, their parameters, pass their judgements, and make out as though this is some kind of global exercise.”
The union minister further said that this government was nationalist. “…we have given Covid-19 vaccines to 70 countries in the world. So, tell me the internationalist countries, how many vaccines have they given? Which of these countries has said while I am doing (for) my people, I will also do for people outside who need as much as my people do – suddenly where are these people when it comes to that?”
Jaishankar further said that Indians were supposed to be sinking civil rights because of their mindset. “Look at the politics of these places. Whatever we might say… this country (India), nobody questions an election. Can you say that in those countries? Look at beliefs. Yes, all of us are entitled to our beliefs, faiths and values. But I don’t put my hand on a religious book when I take my oath of office. Guess which country does?”
“Enough of those homilies. I am quite self-assured. I don’t need certification from outside. Certainly not from people who clearly have an agenda to drive,” he said.