India has signed a Group of Seven (G7) statement condemning, among other things, "politically motivated internet shutdowns," the Ministry of External Affairs announced. The "politically motivated" qualifier was not present in an earlier statement signed by just the G7 countries' foreign ministers on May 5. The "G7 and Guest Countries: 2021 Open Societies Statement" signed by India and other countries read, "As we build back better from the pandemic, we must continue to deliver a better quality of life for our people, with no one left behind. We are at a critical juncture, facing threats to freedom and democracy from rising authoritarianism, electoral interference, corruption, economic coercion, manipulation of information, including disinformation, online harms and cyber attacks, politically motivated internet shutdowns, human rights violations and abuses, terrorism and violent extremism." Apart from India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States of America and the European Union also signed the statement. The point of facing threats from cyber attacks and disinformation was also reiterated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who while participating in the Outreach Sessions of the G7 Summit on June 13 said that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks, and stressed the need to ensure that cyberspace remains an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting them. India's role in internet shutdowns a point of contention The collective of countries had targeted the statement at autocracies, but India's own prolific role in internet…
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