External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday accused the American media of being biased in its coverage of India, PTI reported. In an apparent reference to The Washington Post, the minister also singled out the newspaper for such reporting.
“You know, there are some newspapers you know, exactly, what they are going to write including one in this town [Washington],” Jaishankar said at an event organised by Indian-Americans in Washington.
The Union minister said that the reason for the allegedly biased coverage was because certain groups which believe to be “custodians and shapers of India”, were making efforts to win outside the country, after not being able to do so within it.
“This is something which we need to be aware of,” he said. “It is important to contest. It isn’t because most Americans will not know what sort of the nuances and the complexities [exist] back home, so, it’s important not to sit back, not to let other people define me.”
The participants of the event asked Jaishankar if he thought that Kashmir was being misrepresented in the media. To this, the minister said that there is “big song and dance” in the media about internet shutdowns in the Union Territory, but not about the loss of lives.
Internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 – which gave special status to the erstwhile state – on August 5, 2019. High speed internet services were fully restored 18 months later in February 2021, but internet shutdowns continue to be a regular occurrence in the region.
Commenting on the matter on Monday, Jaishankar said: “Now, if you have reached the stage where you say an Internet cut is more dangerous than the loss of human lives, then what can I say?”
He also said that Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Constitution and that it had been abrogated by a majority in Parliament.
“What is right, what is wrong is confused,” he said. “This is actually politics at work. We should not let it go...We should contest it...We should educate...We should shape the narrative...This is a competitive world. We need to get our messages out. That is my message to you.”
On US-Pakistan F-16 jet deal
Jaishankar also said that the United States-Pakistan relationship has not served either of the countries, ANI reported. He urged the US to reflect on the merit of its partnership with Islamabad.
The minister’s statement came against the backdrop of the US’ decision to sell F-16 fighter jet equipment to Pakistan. The $450 million (Rs 35,876 crore) defence deal earlier this month was struck four years after former US President Donald Trump had suspended about $2 billion (Rs 15,940 crore) of security aid to Pakistan.
“For someone to say I am doing this as it is for counter-terrorism when you are talking of an aircraft like capability of F-16...You are not fooling anybody by saying these,” he said. “We think countries make their choices based on their own interest.”