Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Mr. Vayalar Ravi made a sensational allegation on June 22nd which has gone virtually unnoticed by the opposition and the media. He claimed that the recent downgrades and adverse reports about India as an investment prospect by global rating agencies such as Standard & Poor and Fitch were part of an international conspiracy. The conspiracy according to him was hatched by three NRI businessmen on behalf of a foreign country. Speaking at Thrissur Mr. Ravi alleged that the international rating agencies were deliberately wrecking India’s image by “tarnishing its image in international fora”. He said that foreign powers wanted to bring India under their control through manoeuvres backed by the Indian businessmen.
Coming from a Union Minister this is a most serious charge. The Minister has suggested the existence of a nexus between Indian corporate interests and foreign powers determined to subvert the nation by ruining its economy. It has been observed how even government policy in recent times has harmed India’s investment prospects.
The Finance Ministry’s decision to introduce retrospective legislation to thwart Vodafone in the last budget is just one example. The decision to remove duty on half a dozen popular items of import from China even when there is a severely adverse balance of trade with that country, and when India’s own manufacturing sector of industry is languishing, is another. Examples of official mismanagement of the economy in recent times can be multiplied. These were attributed to incompetence. Mr. Ravi now has thrown a spanner to suggest an altogether new and dangerous element. He has alleged deliberate subversion. Has the government’s economic policy been manipulated by certain corporate interests? One cannot ignore that the former Finance Minister most likely will become very shortly the President of India.
In the light of this it is not enough for Mr. Ravi to speak in riddles and through hints. He must identify the NRI businessmen colluding with a foreign power to damage India’s economy. Failing that, he must at least identify the foreign power that is using them as its cats paw.
A Union Minister cannot make such serious allegations just off the cuff. He has responsibility. He should not have spoken at all if unsure of facts. Having spoken he must tell the nation the whole truth. National security demands nothing less.
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