Most of you must be knowing that Pakistan’s conduct of continuous information warfare against India, trying to destabilize and create religious disharmony through means of propaganda using social media, news, and other means. In this article, we will talk about Pakistani’s information war against India, its tools, and its effect on India.
Information warfare is the manipulation of information, spreading of propaganda or disinformation to demoralize or manipulate the people. Information war has been described as “the use of information to achieve our national objectives.” According to NATO, “Information war is an operation conducted in order to gain an information advantage over the opponent.
Pakistan Propaganda Against India
- In ISI attempt to revive the Khalistan movement, Social media trends showed that more than 11,000 posts were generated in an attempt to spread fake news about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and radicalise youth, during farmers’ protests. According to reports, it showed how several hundred Twitter accounts would appear on the same day, tweet, and then just go missing during farmers’ protests. Pakistan uses such a strategy, when over several hundred accounts emerged, tweeted anti-India propaganda, attempted to radicalize the youth, and was then either deleted or left inactive.
- Hundreds of fake accounts were activated in the neighboring country with fake names to create hatred against the government leadership and to create a wedge between Hindus and Muslims in India by projecting the ruling BJP as anti-Muslim. Attempt to project Citizenship Amendment Act as law to snatch citizenship of Muslims. Many social media accounts having Hindu names spread hate against Muslims and make every possible attempt to instigate Muslims against Hindus. This entire hate-mongering ecosystem is being run from the neighboring country to spread false propaganda, which is aimed at dividing our country on the basis of religion.
- In the Recent Nupur Sharma case, Pakistan got active to spread baseless propaganda against India, it activated its twitter army pushing Anti India Hashtags, like #BoycottIndianProducts & #StopInsulting_ProphetMuhammad, #islamphoia, these are promoted by influencers from Multan, Pakistan, even they hired Digital Media Marketing Agency from Saudi Arabia to organize Global Anti-India Campaign. All of these were aimed at destroying India’s soft power and tarnishing India’s global image as a secular and pluralistic nation and hurting India’s economic interests in the Gulf countries from where India received $35 billion as remittances annually in 2017 from the millions of workers deployed in these countries.
- In the case of Kashmir, Pakistan often uses provided UN to spread its false Kashmir propaganda against India and tries to mislead the world, using fake photos, and videos to propagate its propaganda, also spreading misinformation and promoting anti-India propaganda in Kashmir through music and songs. Funding foreign media outlets to publish anti-India information, like India committing genocide in Kashmir, India is not safe for Muslims, and other useless information regarding other issues like Shree Ram mandir, hijab issue, loudspeakers, etc.
Tools Used To Create Propaganda
- The ISI and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) are two main instruments to promote this policy. The ISPR has, over the years, recruited thousands of youth, trained them in the art of spearing lies through social media, and used them to project anti-India themes.
- Information security analysts have discovered that Pakistan’s sleeper cells are attempting to create a sense of disharmony in India by using proxies and internet “sleeper cells”.
- Social media applications like Twitter pursue their agenda of fake propaganda in India. VPNs [Virtual Private Networks], are used to create accounts and show their location of origin as Indian.
- Funding Anti-India organizations like Sikh For Justice (SFJ) to stage protests against the Indian government(embassy) across the world, specifically in the United Kingdom and Canada, to create tensions in India.
- Pakistani YouTube channels are also involved in spreading fake news and websites promoting anti-India propaganda. The channels were used to post divisive content in a coordinated manner on topics like Kashmir, the Indian Army, minority communities in India, Ram Mandir, General Bipin Rawat, and others,”.
- These channels found spreading fake news like “Turkish Army Enters In New Dehli”(LOL!), “300 Indian Spy Hang By Afghan Talebans(Taliban!) And Give Clear Massage To Modi And Yogi” and “Joe Biden And Erdogan Going To Enter Troops In Kashmir As Modi Dismissed Article 370”.
Effect On India
- It would adversely impact India’s secular and democratic values.
- Harm India’s international image and soft power of our country which we have cultivated among the people of the respective countries.
- Cause riots, and religious tensions, for example, riots in New Delhi during the CAA protest were due to provocation and the misinformation which was spread by the people with vested interests.
- Can also cause chaos among citizens and citizens might lose trust in the government leadership, in its media.
How to Counter This Propaganda
- India is open democracy, rogue states like Pakistan and China have been taking advantage of our free and open media and flow of information, it’s imperative for us to counter this info war against our country. Recent steps taken by the government to ban 20 Pakistani YouTube Channels and other websites involved in spreading fake news about India are appreciated but more has to be done to counter this menace.
- It is not only the responsibility government but also of the print, digital and social media, and people who use these sources to get news, debunk misinformation, and stop further spreading such false information. In order to bust the false information, its advisable to verify the news you hear by cross-checking at multiple news outlets and stop blindly sharing or liking any information of which you are skeptical.
- Governments should conduct media awareness campaigns, promote professional journalism, and should take strict action against those who are involved in spreading disinformation/misinformation, along with this it’s important that the government’s required agency should clarify the confusion created by fake news as soon as possible. It’s also the responsibility of news organizations to provide high-quality journalism in order to build public trust and correct fake news and disinformation without spreading them. Technology companies should invest in tools that identify fake news and improve online accountability.