Asian Insider

Why India is in an uproar over WhatsApp chats

Messaging service takes flak as series of past domestic leaks comes to light

The leaked WhatsApp chats - between news anchor Arnab Goswami (above) and the then head of India's TV ratings agency in 2019 - have embarrassed the app's owner Facebook, which is betting big on India.
The leaked WhatsApp chats - between news anchor Arnab Goswami (above) and the then head of India's TV ratings agency in 2019 - have embarrassed the app's owner Facebook, which is betting big on India.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

As WhatsApp messages go, it seemed innocuous enough. "On Pakistan, the government is confident of striking in a way that people will be elated. Exact words used." Except that the message was apparently sent by an Indian television anchor three days before Indian warplanes targeted militants in northern Pakistan in February 2019.

The air strike became bragging rights for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2019 general election campaign, which his Bharatiya Janata Party won handily.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2021, with the headline 'Why India is in an uproar over WhatsApp chats'. Subscribe