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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed the international organisations criticising India, saying that "self-appointed custodians of the world who find it very difficult to stomach that somebody in India is not looking for their approval".
The minister referred to the western human rights and democratic institutions, Sweden's V-Dem Institute and US government-funded NGO Freedom House, which downgraded India in "democracy rankings" as 'hypocrites'.
Jaishankar, addressing the India Today Conclave said, "It is hypocrisy. We 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 to play. So they invent their rules, their parameters, pass their judgments and make it look as if it is some kind of global exercise."
The external affairs minister highlighted the efforts of the Modi government in supplying COVID-19 vaccines to almost 70 countries globally. Jaishankar took a dig at the term 'nationalist', widely used by the western authorities for the Modi government and raised questions over the contribution of 'internationalist countries' with regards to the coronavirus vaccine.
The government, he said, has been accused of "shrinking civil liberties" but the ground reality is very different. "Whatever you may say, nobody questions an election in this country. Can you say that in those countries?" Jaishankar said.
"We are considered as a 'Hindu Nationalist Party', right? 70 countries across the world have been provided with vaccines by the Indian government. Tell me, how many vaccines the world has been provided by the 'internationalist countries'? Which one of these countries have said that while I vaccinate my own people, I will inoculate other people who need it as much as we do," Jaishankar said.
The comments by the minister come days after Sweden's V-Dem Institute described India as an 'electoral autocracy' and said, "India appears to have abandoned its potential to serve as a global democratic leader, elevating narrow Hindu nationalist interests at the expense of its founding values of inclusion and equal rights for all under Modi government."
Reacting to the report, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had attacked the Centre claiming that India was "no longer" a democracy.
In another report, Freedom House, a US-based watchdog monitoring freedom in countries, downgraded India's status from 'free' in 2019 to 'partly free' in 2020 stating that rights and civil liberties have been suffering under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime.
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