India has for long been waging an information war against Pakistan in an attempt to tarnish its image in the world. But what has now been revealed in a recent report by EU Disinfo Lab shows that India can go to any length to fulfil its hegemonic agenda in the region.
The report titled “Indian Chronicles: Deep Dive into A 15-Year Operation Targeting the EU and UN to Serve Indian Interests” is a shocking document. Well-researched with verifiable evidence on systematic media manipulations by the world’s so-called largest democracy, it lays bare in glaring details a vast network of disinformation designed to mislead public opinion in Europe and elsewhere.
According to the report, over 750 fake media houses set up in 116 countries worked 24/7 to weave a vast network of deception, while more than 550 domain names were registered under false names to carry out the operation directed and choreographed directly from New Delhi. To create an aura of credibility around their suspicious activities, the string pullers resurrected more than 10 dysfunctional NGOs accredited with the UN, fake letterheads and multiple identity thefts.
It is indeed surprising that sitting smack in the middle of Europe, this evil network for 15 long years kept misleading the international community but was not detected. The UN and the EU were misinformed and adversely influenced to formulate the kind of policies which directly served the foreign policy goals of New Delhi. In fact, such massive and sustained was the clever propaganda blitz by India aimed at misleading the international community, especially Europe and the UN that the EU Disinfo Lab, despite not being not particularly focused on South Asia, was forced to undertake a detailed investigation into the matter.
Without an iota of shame and guilt, known human rights activist Professor Louis B Sohn, who had died in 2006, was shown as alive in fake websites to add an element of authenticity to fabricated propaganda stories. Further, photos and names of Martin Shuluz, former President of EU Parliament, and James Purnell, former UK minister, were used in fabricated news items.
The Srivastava Group, an India-based cover business organisation, started its anti-Pakistan media campaign in 2005 in complicity with the Indian news agency ANI. False and fabricated news concocted by fake media outlets were distributed worldwide by ANI. It is clear that such an intercontinental network purveying deceit and fraud could not have been set up without state sponsorship. Fake NGOs and non-existent HR activists were used to agitate the issues of HRVs, terrorism, religious intolerance, press freedom and ethnic animosities. Pakistan was also the prime target of events like seminars, interviews and protest marches organised by shadow outfits.
Among other things, fake Baloch organizations were created to sow the seeds of separatism in Balochistan. Attempts were also made to tarnish Pakistan’s image through fake videos, false news, social media troll posts and made-up interviews.
News stories were fabricated and planted on social media to present India’s own state sponsored atrocities in occupied Kashmir as acts of cross-border terrorism. No wonder that through incessant propaganda India succeeded in misleading and confusing the world public opinion on Kashmir. As a result, three Kashmir Centres at Brussels, London and Washington ran into trouble and were ultimately closed down. The centres were run by members of Kashmiri diaspora but their voice was silenced.
The implications of the outrageous disclosures made by the EU Disinfo Lab should not be lost on Pakistan. India is a past master in the art of propaganda and its malice against Pakistan knows no bounds. Surely, its Europe-based anti-Pakistan disinformation enterprise won’t be the only one of its kind. It must be running more such scams to fulfil its dream of imposing its hegemonic agenda on South Asia. India’s deep involvement in massive Pakistan-centric influence operations is an undeniable proof of its aggressive designs. It is time for Pakistan to get proactive and use its diplomatic and intelligence resources to track and expose other such India-sponsored disinformation matrices in operation elsewhere.
For more than a decade, India duped the international community and negatively influenced the public opinion and policy makers on Kashmir, plebiscite, terrorism and minorities’ persecution. The brazen proliferation of lies to damage a particular country or nation is nothing short of a criminal act in terms of international law and conventions. In order to undo the damage caused by the Indian propaganda machine, Pakistan should hire lawyers of international repute to prepare and present its case to the UNHRC, EU, the UN and other international forums. India must be put in the dock for violating the UN Charter and the principles of inter-state relations.