On the Women’s Economic Forum website, Madi Sharma is described as the leader of the Madi Group, “International Business Broker, Education Entrepreneur; speaker”.
New Delhi| 23 members of the European Parliament visited Kashmir on October 29. However, questions kicked-off to understand the background of the sudden visit that too of the international community. Was it a formal invitation by the Government of India or who is the head behind the visit? The EU clarified that it wasn’t an official visit and the MPs were visiting Kashmir in their personal capacity.
Two think tanks seem to have been the driving force behind putting together the delegation of mostly far-right parliamentarians. According to Bill Newton Dunn, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party in the United Kingdom, the trip had been organized by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies. It describes itself as a “think tank for the Non-Aligned Movement”.
Invitation Sent by ‘Madi Sharma’
But here the false alarm hit. As per the reports, the Invitation was sent to European Delegates by a woman name Madi Sharma, who promised them, “a prestigious VIP meeting with the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi” as well as a trip to Kashmir.
The invitation letter was released by another Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament, Chris Davies, who said he would not “join a PR stunt”.
The invitation to the European MP's was sent out by someone called Madi Sharma. She promised a 'prestigious VIP meeting' with India's Prime Minister, in addition to the Kashmir trip. (Screenshot of her mail exchange with MEP Chris Davies, released by his office) @OnReality_Check pic.twitter.com/6giTXCCjaq
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) October 29, 2019
Madi Sharma claimed to be writing on behalf of the Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank. On her Twitter account, Sharma describes herself as a “Social Capitalist: International Business Broker, Education Entrepreneur; Speaker”.
Mail invite promised meeting with PM Modi
She wrote a letter on October 7 to EU MPs, promising a three-day visit: “The meeting with the Prime Minister is scheduled for 28th October, with a visit to Kashmir on 29th and a press conference on 30th”.
It added that “flight and accommodations will be covered and are sponsored by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies”.
International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies
The International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies states on the website to have “provided a platform to voice the views of millions of people of the third world”. It has reportedly established a Centre for Human Rights, which covers the “rights of minorities and ethnic groups”, “rights of the women and child”, sustainable development, “right to life, Democracy and Human Rights”.
The Institute claims to have offices in New York, Geneva, and Vienna to coordinate with the United Nations. Apart from regional offices in five other countries. The governing body of the Institute, the website says, consists of “parliamentarians, academicians, experts, diplomats and media persons”.
Srivastava Group’s website states “is one of the fastest-growing business houses in the country with interests in Natural resources, Clean energy, Airspace, Consulting services, Healthcare, Print Media and Publishing”.
The Srivastava Group was recently in the news in Europe after Politico revealed that its online presence “overlaps” that of EP Today a website that “targets members of the European Parliament and other policymakers with media content that is critical of Pakistan and drawn largely from a Russian media outlet known for disinformation”.
EU vs Disinformation, an organization funded by the European Union which examines disinformation efforts, found that EPToday calls itself a “monthly news magazine for the European Parliament” was, for the most part, reproducing articles word for word from the Russian owned RT.com.
Another organization, EU Disinformation Lab, a non-governmental organization that also examines disinformation, went on to explain, in a Twitter thread, that EPToday had been pushed by the Srivastava Group and as per their website shares the same office as the group as well.
Understanding the background of Madi Sharma
Madi Sharma, whose think tank sent out the invitations, has bylines as the “EU correspondent” of the New Delhi Times. Among her pieces for the newspaper are articles about everything from Kazakhstan to European trade policy. She also has a byline on the newspaper that refers to her as “Founder, Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT)” and covers interaction with Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, who she states as one of the most “important political figures from Pakistan”.
International Business Broker
On the Women’s Economic Forum website, she is described as the leader of the Madi Group, “International Business Broker, Education Entrepreneur; speaker”. The Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank is part of the Madi Group, a conglomerate of “international private and social enterprises and NGOs”.
It claims to be “A leading women’s think tank with global dimensions, focussing on the economic, environmental and social development of women. At a political level, it is also lobbying to raise awareness on key issues but never for commercial gain”.
Sharma also runs a number of concerns, including an “ethnic trail tour company” and Madi Magnesium, a consultancy which supports “SMEs, corporates, public sector organizations, NGOs and governments to overcome their challenges. Sharma also published an article on September 14 this year titled “Why demolishing Article 370 is both a victory and a challenge for Kashmiri women”.
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.