ISLAMABAD - Speakers at a round-table discussion (RTD) organised by Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) here on Tuesday stressed the need for a joint a strategy to expose falsehood the Indian government has been using as a tool to create a cobweb of confusion on Kashmir to befool international community.

The RTD titled “Indian statecraft as falsehood: An assessment of Indian disinformation strategy” was attended by civil society activists, academicians, diplomats, political analysts and Kashmiri leaders from both sides of the line of control including Professor Dr Mujib Afzal, security expert Syed Muhammad Ali, journalist Aniqa Nisar and foreign policy expert Taimur Shamil.

During the discussion, the participants, while referring to false and fabricated narrative India has been peddling the world over, said that India’s political and military establishment have used corporate media to spread disinformation and distort historical facts on Kashmir and other issues.

“From Kashmir to Hindutva, extremism India’s whole narrative is based on falsehood,” they said adding that India has always created a smokescreen to mislead the international community. The Indian government they said was using millions of dollars on media that keeps harping on spreading lies 24/7. “India has been using fake media outlets to target Pakistan, EU and UN to serve its interests,” they said, adding that there were hundreds of such fake media outlets working in different countries.

Referring to EU DisinfoLab’s recent report, the panellists said that the NGO has unearthed a 15-year-old operation run by an Indian entity that used hundreds of fake media outlets and the identity of a dead professor to target Pakistan.

Similarly, they said, the disinformation network run by Srivastava Group in New Delhi was designed to discredit Pakistan internationally and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament. It may be recalled here that researchers of EU DisinfoLab had uncovered 265 pro-Indian sites operating across 65 countries, and traced them back to the New Delhi-based Srivastava Group.

The group, they said, had arranged trips for MEPs to Kashmir recently. “These individual trips of the MEPs were presented as official EU delegations,” they said.

The panellists said that as part of disinformation strategy, India had created fake NGOs that have been tasked to hold press conferences and demonstrations on important occasions.

They observed that Indians have used falsehood in every way possible for its statecraft. “A well-coordinated effort is required to expose India’s disinformation campaign effectively to let the world know how the so-called largest democracy was using falsehood as a tool to mislead the world,” they added.

Terming Kashmiris as the worst victims of this falsehood, they said, the successive Indian governments have lied repeatedly to hide the ground realities in Kashmir. They said that the propaganda laden Bollywood movie Kashmir Files is one such example which shows how India was distorting historical facts to project its so-called narrative on exodus of Kashmiri pandits and defame Kashmiris’ legitimate political struggle.