India’s intelligence agency has targeted an adviser to the Prince of Wales as well as British environmental activists in a campaign against foreign groups that it claims are a threat to its economy.
The government last week banned direct foreign funding of local campaign groups after a report by the Intelligence Bureau cautioning that organisations funded by Greenpeace and other international institutions were growing throughout the country and “spawning” mass movements that would pose a “significant threat to national economic security”.
The decision was disclosed after the government indicated it was ready to exploit further its large coal reserves and asserted its right to increase carbon emissions for economic development.
India was the world’s fastest growing carbon gas emitter in 2012, but has rejected calls to reduce emissions as unfair. Ministers say western economies were to blame for polluting the atmosphere during their industrialisation and that India’s own development cannot be held back to meet new targets.
Prakash Javadekar, the Environment Minister, said India had a “right to grow” and that it could not address climate change until it had eradicated poverty.
According to the Intelligence Bureau report, Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups have stalled the development of new coal mines, challenged plans for more coal-fired power stations, and delayed other vital infrastructure projects in campaigns that reduced India’s GDP growth by up to 3 per cent.
Much of their work, the report said, has been funded by the US-based Centre for Media and Democracy, which it described as a Democratic party-oriented group supported by liberals like George Soros and “multiple far-Left foundations”.
The report, which was leaked last week, singled out Dr Vandana Shiva, an Indian scientist who advises Prince Charles on sustainable agriculture.
She has been his long-term collaborator on organic farming since they participated in the Reith Lectures in 2000. He is said to find her inspiring and keeps a bust of her at his Highgrove home.
During his visit to India last November, the Prince visited her organic farm in Dehra Dun to highlight her campaign against the use of genetically modified seeds. Shiva has blamed the high cost of GM cotton seeds for the suicides of 284,000 indebted farmers since 1995.
According to the Intelligence Bureau report, “six NGOs, including Greenpeace, are at the forefront of anti-GMO activism in India” and the movement “was initiated in 2003 by Vandana Shiva”. It also emphasises her role as a consultant to Greenpeace Australia and her group, Navdanya, as a recipient of foreign aid.
Other “anti-developmental activities” highlighted in the report included Greenpeace plans for “crop circle” protests against the cultivation of genetically modified soya and corn. The group had planned to capture the demonstrations on Google Earth, the report said.
The report named four Britons among 12 foreign activists that it said were planning to organise protests against coal-fired power stations and had been involved in upgrading Greenpeace India’s computer security systems. It discussed the work of Matt Philips, a British energy analyst, and cited a claim by Pakistan’s former intelligence chief that Philips’s previous employer, Save the Children, was linked to the CIA.
Two other British activists, Fiona Stewart and Emma Gibson, visited Greenpeace’s headquarters in Bangalore in January and “upgraded its communications systems and installed sophisticated and encrypted software in its computers”, the report said.
Shiva called the report an “attack on civil society”, which she said she would defend. She said it was “biased” in favour of the foreign companies that she blames for farmers’ debts and suicides. “They’re not allergic to foreign funding for defence or railways but only foreign funding to build civil society,” she said.
Greenpeace India said the report was a “malicious” attempt to speed up environmental clearances for coal and nuclear power projects and a “concerted effort by parties with a vested interest to ensure elimination of any opposition”.
© The Daily Telegraph