Britain Steps Into The Spat Between PM Modi And Moody's Analytics
British PM David Cameron to host PM Narendra Modi next week
NEW DELHI: It’s a double whammy against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. An official government attempt to communalise a Moody’s Analytics Report by playing on the religious identity of the analyst has been not only rejected by the research agency, but has also compelled British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to say that the rise in ethnic tensions mentioned in the Report will taken up by Prime Minister David Cameron in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London next week.
The British government has been under pressure from rights organisations, scholars of Cambridge University, and sections of the Labour party to bring up the increasing intolerance visible in India through acts of violence and hate speech under the new government with PM Modi during his visit. Hammond has now stated very categorically, "...I am sure Prime Minister Cameron will want to ask about some of the issues mentioned (Moody's 'India Outlook: Searching for Potential' report) because they are clearly relevant to Prime Minister Modi's plans for the development of the Indian economy and the opening of India to the outside world and the securing of India's sustainable development.”
This comes after the government here entered into an unseemly spat with Moody’s Analytics playing on the individual who signed off on the report than the substance within. Moody's Analytics said it "provides economic research and analysis and is a separate company from Moody's Investors Service, the ratings agency."The October 29 report titled 'Dismal Scientist - India outlook: Searching for Potential' authored by Faraz Syed, Associate Economist of Moody's Analytics, had stated that "While Modi has largely distanced himself from the nationalist jibes, the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities has raised ethnic tensions. The report further stated,"Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face stiffer opposition in the upper house as debate turns away from economic policy. Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility."
While releasing the report on Friday, the firm had said that "if sourcing or referencing any contents from this publication, please quote Moody's Analytics".
The government responded to this with an unusually strongly worded statement ripping into the report and the “irresponsible and distorted reporting by certain sections of the Indian media” reports. The official statement said, “the government notes with distress that the personal opinion of a junior analyst was passed off as a commentary on India by a Rating Agency by the media to buttress the narrative it wants to portray."
The government statement said it was "surprising that no due diligence was done" and "readers were not informed" about the difference between Moody's Analytics and Moody's Investor Services.
Such episodes, said the government, "seriously hamper the credibility of the media."
This prompted Moody’s Analytics to issue another statement standing by the report. "The report was published by and is the view of Moody's Analytics as part of its economic outlook series," a Moody's Analytics spokesperson said in an emailed statement."The report included a section observing political developments in the context of their potential economic impact, and did not advocate any political agenda or perspective," he added.
The British Foreign Secretary has now confirmed that PM Cameron would take note of Moody’s Analytics assessment in the context of Modi’s plans for the development of the Indian economy.Hammond was responding to a question whether the current tensions and the issue of human rights in India would figure in the talks. “We always talk about issues of mutual concern. I am sure Prime Minister Modi will have issues he will want to raise around the Indian diaspora in the UK,” Hammond added during a pre-visit briefing at the foreign and commonwealth office.