Billionaire investor George Soros is ‘opinionated and dangerous’, says Jaishankar

EAM S. Jaishankar told a conference in Sydney on Saturday that Soro’s comments were typical of a “Euro Atlantic view”.

February 18, 2023 08:07 am | Updated 06:56 pm IST - Sydney

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called on Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese in Sydney on February 18, 2022

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called on Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese in Sydney on February 18, 2022 | Photo Credit: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

Billionaire investor George Soros is old, rich, opinionated, and dangerous and invests resources in shaping narratives, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday, February 18, 2023 said.

The 92-year-old hedge fund tycoon, who has been associated with supporting liberal causes, on Thursday sent shockwaves in the Indian political scene saying Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fates are entwined. Speaking at the Munich Security conference, he also said the turmoil in Adani’s business empire may open the door to a “democratic revival” in the country.

Also read: Whether Adani issue sparks revival depends on Opposition, not George Soros: Congress

Responding to a question at a session at the Raisina@Sydney Dialogue, Mr. Jaishankar said Mr. Soros is an “old, rich, opinionated person sitting in New York, who still thinks that his views should determine how the entire world works.” “Now, if I could only stop at old, rich and opinionated, I would put it away but he is old, rich, opinionated and dangerous,”Mr. Jaishankar said.

He said that a few years ago at the same conference, Mr. Soros had accused India of planning to strip millions of Muslims of their citizenship.

“We know the dangers of what happens when there’s outside interference … if you do this kind of scaremongering, like millions of people will be deprived of citizenship, it actually does real damage to our societal fabric,” he said.

“There are other manifestations of this in different countries, where people like him think an election is good if the person we want to see wins. If the election throws up a different outcome, then we actually will say it’s a flawed democracy,” he said.

Jaishankar said globalisation allows seamless opportunities but also allows narratives to be shaped, money to come in, and organisations to get about their agenda. “All this is done under the pretence of advocacy of an open society of transparency.” The Adani Group has been under severe pressure since the US short-seller Hindenburg Research on January 24 accused it of accounting fraud and stock manipulation, allegations that the conglomerate has denied as “malicious”, “baseless”, and a “calculated attack on India.”

Meeting with Australian PM

Earliier Mr. Jaishankar met Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese on Saturday on the sidelines of the Raisina @ Sydney Business Breakfast.

Prior to their meeting, Mr. Jaishankar addressed the audience at Raisina @ Sydney Business Breakfast on Saturday and talked about the economy and the COVID-19 issue. He said, “We are targeting 7% growth this year, but we expect it to improve in the next five years. And definitely, we would stay in the 7-9% range at least for a decade and a half.”

"And you can today see the same reflected in the investment climate, both in the flow of FDI, FII as well as in the investments which the government itself is leading the capital outlay in this year's budget," he added.

Raisina @ Sydney Bussiness Breakfast was organised by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and India's Observer Research Foundation (ORF) at the InterContinental Hotel in Sydney.

Talking about the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) that was signed between India and Australia on April 2, 2022, and came into force on December 29, 2022, Mr. Jaishankar said that the ECTA has a "good impact on trade". "Encouraging greater investments should be the focus, especially during CEO Forum meets or the Prime Minister and Trade Ministers visit," he suggested.

Mr. Jaishankar also spoke about migration mobility and said, "We've seen a very substantial movement of Indian talent to Australia. We have roughly about a million students staying in here."

"We would welcome Australian universities to India. For us, it's not just about Indian students coming to Australia but it's also about Australia and India working together to produce skilled, competitive talent in India for the entire world," he added.

While addressing the audience, Mr. Jaishankar also said that India has overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic "quite strongly." He also said that the impact of COVID has been devastating on the world economy, and added, "Perhaps we in India and Australia feel it much less."

After Mr. Jaishankar’s keynote address, a panel session will be held that would cover topics like “Next steps in the Australia-India economic partnership: stability, security and sovereignty,” and it will be addressed by keynote speakers: Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global Corporation; Jodi McKay, National Chair, Australia-India Business Council; Vikram Singh, Vice President, and Country Head - ANZ, Tata Consultancy Services and facilitated by Bec Shrimpton, Director, The Sydney Dialogue, Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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