Misinformation and disinformation pose the greatest risk to India ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election and over the next two years, the World Economic Forum said in a report published on Wednesday.

The other major risks for India in the next two years could be infectious diseases, illicit economic activity, inequality and labour shortages, the organisation said.

The report said that misinformation could “seriously destabilise” the legitimacy of governments in countries where elections are slated to be held in the next two years, including in India.

India’s 1.4 billion-strong population will head to polls this April to elect the 18th Lok Sabha.

The Global Risks Report – based on a survey of 1,500 experts in academia, business and government – assesses various types and varying degrees of risks faced by global economies over the next two and 10 years.

The report mentions five categories of risks: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological. “Misinformation and disinformation” is a sub-category under technological risks.

The report gives the example of a BBC documentary examining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which was taken down by X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube last January at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government to highlight how “a crackdown on real or perceived foreign interference could be used to consolidate existing control”, even in mature democracies.

The report also warns that artificial intelligence-driven disinformation campaigns are becoming increasingly hard to detect and will be “increasingly personalised...and targeted to specific groups, such as minority communities”. Such content can influence voters, fuel protests, lead to violence and the erosion of democratic processes, the study said.

Over a 10-year horizon, extreme weather events will be the greatest risk faced by most countries, followed by critical changes to earth systems, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse and “natural resource shortages.

India has also been classified among countries where the “failure to adapt to climate change” is not a relatively high concern as of now, possibly due to more pressing challenges “including state fragility, poverty and conflict.”