With the current economic and political crisis of Sri Lanka, the country has become a main talking point among the international diplomatic community as well. India has offered some relief for Sri Lanka especially in the form of credit line and financial assistance to help resolve the fuel crisis in the country.
In this backdrop, there has been a wave of social media claims targeting the Indian External Affairs minister, Jaishankar and attributing a fake twitter message to the minister, in relation to Sri Lanka. Here is our investigation over these claims.
Social Media Posts
A WhatsApp forward of a Tweet, allegedly posted from the Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankara’s official account, claimed that India is ready to proclaim Sri Lanka as a state of India, if the people of Sri Lanka find it agreeable. Tweet went on to say that in return, India is willing to help Sri Lanka to rescue it from economic deadlock by resolving the food, fertilizer, fuel and many other issues the country is currently facing and would look after all the future issues of Sri Lanka as well.
Below is a screengrab of the viral Tweet.
We noticed a few Facebook posts carrying the same image of the alleged Twitter message.
We searched Dr. Jaishankar`s official Twitter account and we didn’t find any Tweet related to the alleged message going viral in Sri Lanka. After that, we checked whether there were any such archived tweets similar to viral social media claims and weren’t able to find any archived versions either.
We contacted the Indian High Commissioner’s Office in Sri Lanka who also denied the viral message and had issued the following communique stating that these fake and fabricated images are mischievous attempts by desperate parties and would never succeed in affecting the close, friendly and age-old ties between #India and #SriLanka.
Also there are evident flaws in this viral morphed image as well. Notably there are grammatical errors in the displayed text. Furthermore, it surpasses the text limit for a legitimate Twitter message. We tried to replicate the text shown in the viral Tweet and as seen below weren’t able to get the full text shown in the viral image into the Tweet, which is a key giveaway that the image is fabricated.
The excessive text portion is highlighted in pink color as the maximum character length of a Tweet is limited to 280 characters, more on this here.
We then looked and recent news reports in relation to India and Sri Lanka and found out that in addition to the line of credit offered to Sri Lanka earlier in April, India has again offered additional $500 million in financial assistance to help battle the ongoing fuel crisis as reported here. More reports on India’s recent assistance to Sri Lanka can be read here, here and here, and Dr. Jaishankar was a key member in the bi-lateral discussions among the two countries.
Here is a video of Indian External Minister Speaking in the Lok Sabha, about India providing assistance to Sri Lanka. In any of these instances also we couldn’t find a statement by Dr. Jaishankar, to the one mentioned in the viral tweet message.
Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund Chief Kristalina Georgieva had also appreciated India for helping its neighbor Sri Lanka amid economic crisis.
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According to our investigation, found out that the viral image of a Tweet purported to be posted from the official twitter handle of India’s External Affairs Minister Dr.Jaishankar, claiming that India is willing to help resolve issues in Sri Lanka provided that they agree to be declared as a state of India, is false. The image is digitally manipulated and Dr.Jaishankar has not expressed such a view either.
Title:A Tweet from Indian External Affairs Minister to Express their Willingness to Proclaim SL as a State of India? Find Out the Truth…Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha