India has signed a declaration by the Group of Seven (G7) condemning, among other things, “politically motivated Internet shutdowns” announced. The “politically motivated” qualifier was all in one earlier statement May only signed by the foreign ministers of the G7 countries.

The “G7 and Host Countries: Open Society Declaration 2021” signed by India and other countries states: “As we recover better from the pandemic, we must continue to offer our people a better quality of life without anyone being left behind. We are at a critical point where freedom and democracy through increasing authoritarianism, electoral interference, corruption, economic coercion, information manipulation including disinformation, online damage and cyber attacks, politically motivated Internet shutdowns, Human rights violations and abuse, terrorism and violent extremism. “

In addition to India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States of America and the European Union signed the declaration.

The point of facing cyberattack and disinformation threats was also raised by. affirmed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said during his participation in the outreach sessions of the G7 summit on June 13th that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyberattacks, and stressed the need to ensure that cyberspace remains a way of promoting democratic values ​​and not to undermine.

India’s role in shutting down the internet is a point of contention

The country collective had directed the declaration against autocracies, but India’s own productive role in shutting down the internet was a point of contention. Most importantly, the internet was shut down in Kashmir on August 5, 2019 and lasted until February 5 of this year; the restrictions put in place following the repeal of Section 370 of the Constitution, which gave Kashmir a special status, were not lifted even amid the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wire reported that India fought first drafts of the Open Societies Statement implying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar released noted that had to be fake news and cyberattacks throttled, but stopped saying that these internet shutdowns were justified.

The “politically motivated” qualification of the final declaration appears to have been a satisfactory modification to get India’s signature. The repeal of Section 370 was a politically popular move that the BJP has long promised. Almost half of those polled in an ABP-C-Voter poll last month of 139,000 people named them government officials greatest achievement.

“We, the leaders of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States of America and the European Union reaffirm our shared belief in open societies, democratic values ​​and Multilateralism as the basis for dignity, opportunities and prosperity for all and for the responsible use of our planet, ”the statement said. The declaration reaffirmed “our respect for international rules and norms relating to”, among other things, “freedom of expression, both online and offline, as a freedom that protects democracy and helps people to live free from fear and oppression”.

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