After External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for propagating falsehood by claiming a “new Singapore COVID-19 variant” had transmitted in the country, the Singapore government has said that they were satisfied with India’s response to the controversy.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Singapore High Commissioner to India Simon Wong said that Singapore and India are solid partners in the fight against COVID-19, and the pandemic knows no boundary or political color.
Addressing the controversy that erupted on Tuesday over Arvind Kejriwal’s unnecessary fear-mongering by claiming that there was a new Singapore variant of Covid-19 which is very dangerous to children, Wong said that the false statements by Arvind Kejriwal would invite actions under Protection from Online Falsehoods & Manipulation Act (POFMA), an act intended to mitigate misinformation in the country. However, he added that they are satisfied with the government of India’s clarification.
In Singapore, we have Protection from Online Falsehoods & Manipulation Act (POFMA) to mitigate misinformation & we reserve right to invoke POFMA on assertions made by CM (Delhi). However, we’re satisfied with GoI’s clarification: Simon Wong, Singapore High Commissioner to India pic.twitter.com/zLPjggB1im— ANI (@ANI) May 19, 2021
The Protection from Online Falsehoods & Manipulation Act is popularly known as Fake News Law, and it allows the authorities to respond to fake news by enforcing links to fact-checking sites, censoring websites or social media accounts, and filing criminal charges.
The Singapore Ambassador to India said that the Singapore government preferred to deal with virus and its variants in scientific terms. We abide closely with WHO’s recommendation of not giving virus any geographical name, and Singapore focuses more on scientific aspect than to put the finger on anyone, said Singapore High Commissioner to India Simon Wong.
The High Commissioner of Singapore further said that after exchanges between foreign ministers of both the countries, the Southeast Asian nation said, “it would wish to put an end to this episode because authorities representing Government of India had spoken and we are heartened by those assurances.”
The Singapore Ambassador also appreciated the “crystal clear” clarifications by the Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar and MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, saying it was time to turn the page.
Delhi CM Kejriwal fear-mongers about new Covid strain, MEA slams Arvind Kejriwal
On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to claim that a new variant of Covid-19 was found in Singapore, which could result in India’s third wave. Resorting to unnecessary fear-mongering, the Delhi Chief Minister put out unverified information to claim that the new variant was extremely dangerous for children.
The Delhi Chief Minister also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to immediately halt air services with Singapore and prioritize vaccination drive for children.
सिंगापुर में आया कोरोना का नया रूप बच्चों के लिए बेहद ख़तरनाक बताया जा रहा है, भारत में ये तीसरी लहर के रूप में आ सकता है।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 18, 2021
केंद्र सरकार से मेरी अपील:
1. सिंगापुर के साथ हवाई सेवाएं तत्काल प्रभाव से रद्द हों
2. बच्चों के लिए भी वैक्सीन के विकल्पों पर प्राथमिकता के आधार पर काम हो
Following the callous statements put out by Kejriwal, Singapore’s Health Ministry reacted strongly and dismissed the fear-mongering of the Delhi Chief Minister. The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs revealed that the Singapore government had called the High Commission, raising a strong objection to Kejriwal’s statement.
At the same time, the civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had also fact-checked the Delhi CM, saying that international flights are already suspended since March last year, and India does not have an air-bubble agreement with Singapore. This means that currently there is no commercial flight service between India and Singapore that Kejriwal wants to ban. Only some Vande Bharat flights are operating from Singapore, which brings Indians trapped in foreign countries to India.
The embarrassing incident prompted Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar to issue a clarification, who slammed Kejriwal for his irresponsible comments and had clarified that Delhi CM did not speak for India.
However, irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 19, 2021
So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s cheap theatrics on social media, especially at an international level has caused a massive embarrassment for the country.