External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has criticised billionaire investor George Soros strongly and called him “old, rich, opinionated and dangerous”, in response to his comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the functioning of Indian democracy.

“Soros is an old, rich opinionated person sitting in New York who still thinks that his views should determine how the entire world works...he is also dangerous as such people and such views and such organisations actually invest resources in shaping narratives…,” Jaishankar said at the Raisina@Sydney Dialogue in Sydney on Saturday.

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People like him think an election is good if the person they want to see wins. If the election throws up a different outcome then they will say it is a flawed democracy. The beauty is that all this is done under the pretence of advocacy of open society, the Minister said.

Jaishankar reacted to Soros’ comments on Thursday saying that while India was a democracy, its leader, Narendra Modi was not a democrat. Inciting violence against Muslims was an important factor in his meteoric rise. Modi maintains close relations with both open and closed societies.”

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Referring to US short-seller Hindenburg’s report on the Adani Group and the alleged stock manipulation by the company, Soros said that Modi and Adani were “close allies,” and the development would significantly weaken the Modi government.

Jaishankar accused Soros of creating a fear psychosis that could harm society. “If you do this kind of scaremongering…millions of people will be deprived of citizenship. It actually does real damage to the societal fabric because somebody out there believes you. You create that kind of fear psychosis.”

Soros has been criticised before by various governments. In 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused him of trying to divide and destroy nations. In 2020, then US president Donald Trump claimed that Soros and others were “financing Antifa or anti-fascist” protesters.