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Report reveals targeted operation to serve Indian interests at the UN

Tactics include support for Baluchistan House, an organisation that paid for lobbying campaigns against Pakistan on Geneva’s public transport network, says the report. World Baloch Organisation

The so-called ‘Indian Chronicles’ investigation has accused India-linked organisations of using the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva to promote an anti-Pakistan and anti-China narrative. 

This content was published on December 10, 2020 - 14:50
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On Wednesday, Brussels-based NGO EU DisinfoLab published its “Indian ChroniclesExternal link” investigative report accusing the New Delhi-based Srivastava Group of actively promoting disinformation in Geneva via the UN, which was then amplified in India. The Srivastava Group is an Indian company with diverse business interests, including owning the New Delhi Times newspaper and think tank News from Non-Aligned World.  

UN-accredited NGOs – some with direct ties to the Srivastava Group – were used by minority groups to promote Indian interests and criticise Pakistan at sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, claims the report. Some of these organisations were defunct and/or had little to do with the issues raised on behalf of minority Pakistani groups like Balochis and Sindhis. NGOs named include The International Permanent Committee on Canned Foods, The World Environment and Resources Council, The International Club for Peace Research and the Center for Environmental and Management Studies. Some of the minority rights groups also had links to India. 

“Several of them like the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), Baluchistan House and the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) were directly but opaquely created by the Srivastava group,” says the report. 

The interventions made in such a manner at the UN Human Rights Council were then covered by fake media outlets and news agencies like the Times of Geneva and 4 News Agency. Information from these dubious Geneva-based media outlets were then carried by the press agency ANI (Asian News International), a source for many Indian news outlets and known to be on good terms with the Indian government. In this manner, propaganda ultimately filtered down to reputable Indian media publications like Business Standard and Outlook. 

Other questionable practices by the Srivastava Group include hiring Geneva-based students as interns to serve as the public face of these propaganda campaigns. According to EU DisinfoLab, this was done to make attribution to India more difficult.  

Similar activities were carried out in Brussels with a view to influencing members of the European Parliament (MEPs).  

“Some of these MEPs and other politicians would then attend United Nations side-events, press conferences and demonstrations in Geneva with minority-rights NGOs set up by the same actors, such as the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities,” says the report. 

The Indian embassy in Bern did not respond to swissinfo.ch's queries on the subject.

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