Billionaire investor George Soros on Friday (February 17) said that the allegations levied by US short-seller Hindenburg Research against the Adani Group threaten to hurt investor confidence in India and might weaken Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hold on the government.
“Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies; their fate is intertwined,” Soros said while giving a speech at the Munich Security Conference (MSC). He further added, “Adani Enterprises tried to raise funds in the stock market, but he failed. Adani is accused of stock manipulation and his stock collapsed like a house of cards. Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament.”
MSC, which began on Friday and will continue till Sunday, is an annual conference on global security issues that witnesses the coming together of senior politicians and military leaders from around the world at Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany.
Among the many top officials attending this year’s meeting are US Vice President Kamala Harris, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron. Representatives of influential global organisations such as the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) will also be part of the conference.
Notably, for the first time in 20 years, Russia hasn’t been invited to the event, a response to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which started in February last year. Iranian leaders have also been disinvited due to the brutal suppression of protests by women in Iranian cities.
What is the Munich Security Conference?
The MSC was founded by a German official and publisher Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist at the peak of the Cold War (1947-1991). Starting in 1963, the conference initially only focused on military issues and was mainly attended by western countries and their high-profile officials, who “came together to display a united front in their struggle with Soviet communism”, according to Financial Times.
After the end of the Cold War, the conference expanded its agenda that went beyond defence and security matters to include issues such as climate change and migration. It also started to invite leaders from eastern nations, including Russia, India and China.
Today, the MSC, held in February every year, “seeks to promote trust and contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts by facilitating ongoing, curated, yet informal dialogue within the international security community”, according to the conference’s website.
Since its inception, it has been cancelled only twice. Once in 1991 when the first Gulf War broke out and then in 1997 as a result of the retirement of Kleist-Schmenzin.
What will be the focus of this year’s MSC?
Although in the past few years, the MSC has focused on much more than just security issues, experts believe that this year’s edition might entail a refocus on its original goal: the security order in Europe, in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war that began just days after the MSC 2022 was concluded.
“Almost one year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the MSC 2023 will also provide an opportunity to take stock of alliance cohesion and political commitment to the rules-based international order”, according to MSC’s website.
The conference might also serve as a platform for diffusing tensions between the United States and China, especially after the former shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon in North American airspace earlier this month. According to Financial Times, organisers expect that discussions between China’s foreign minister Wang Yi and his US counterpart Antony Blinken would improve the ties between the two nations.
Another theme on the agenda is to focus on diverse perspectives from the Global South, which included some of the poorest and least industrialised countries in the world.