A global network of pro-Indian fake websites and think-tanks is aimed at influencing decision-making in Europe, researchers say.

 The co-ordinated network of 265 sites operates across 65 countries, according to a report by EU Disinfo Lab, a Brussels-based NGO,

The researchers traced the websites to an Indian company, Srivastava Group.

The network was also found to involve groups responsible for anti-Pakistan lobbying events in Europe.
There’s no evidence it is linked to India’s government.

But researchers believe the network’s purpose is to disseminate propaganda against India’s neighbour and rival Pakistan. Both countries have long sought to control the narrative against each other.

The websites sprinkled anti-Pakistan content amongst stories about world news and sport

“More than the fake media outlets alone, it is their combination with the fake NGOs that’s really worrying because it provides a mirage of online and grassroots support to a cause. That’s exactly where the disinformation lies,” Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU Disinfo Lab, told the BBC.

‘Zombies, green aliens and blue ghosts’
EU Disinfo Lab’s investigation started by looking at EP Today, a website which claimed to be an online magazine for the European Parliament in Brussels.

 

In October, the European Union’s disinformation task force revealed that EP Today had been re-publishing a large amount of news directly from Russia Today and Voice of America.
Some suspected Russian interference, but EU Disinfo Lab, which is an independent NGO, traced the servers behind the website to Srivastava Group.

The researchers then uncovered a vast network of English language fake sites serving India’s lobbying interests.

A global network of pro-Indian fake websites and think-tanks is aimed at influencing decision-making in Europe, researchers say.

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