NEW DELHI: The government called the recent New York Times article on India's COVID response a "provocative, attention seeking" piece that comes at a time when the country is doing well in tackling the pandemic.
The article claimed that the "ICMR tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's optimistic narrative despite a looming crisis".
Responding to a question at a press briefing, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said, "This is a provocative, attention seeking article published at a time when India is doing good and our vaccination is excellent and it is diverting attention. All the issues raised are dead ones and probably do not merit any attention."
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the Union government as well as the state governments are fully emerged in fighting a pandemic and all our energies and time is devoted to that. "We greatly value journalistic and editorial freedom and at the same time we must also realise that all of us - Union government as well as the state governments - are fully emerged in fighting a pandemic and all our energies and time is devoted to that," he said.
"We cannot afford to be diverted by things that can be addressed at a later day which are not priority from the public health point of view," Bhushan said.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul condemned the article. "We actually condemn this type of distorted out of context reporting. This is not desirable and it should not happen," he said.