In October, several opposition journalists and politicians in India began receiving notifications from Apple that their smartphones had been targeted by hackers sponsored by the Indian government, which did not sit well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, writes The Washington Post.

Representatives of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have publicly expressed their doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the data received by the company regarding the attack attempts and announced an investigation into the security of Apple devices.

It is also reported that high-ranking officials of the Modi administration summoned representatives of the company to mitigate the political impact of such notifications.

In addition, citing people familiar with the case, The Washington Post reported that a meeting was held in New Delhi between representatives of the Indian government and Apple security experts, where the latter were asked to come up with an alternative explanation for such notifications.

Most of the people who received such notifications on their devices in late October were publicly criticizing Narendra Modi and his ally, energy and infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani.

Two years ago, the Indian government was already suspected of using Pegasus spyware to monitor politicians and journalists.

The Indian journalists who covered the story said that they had received a message from the company stating that the alerts about possible hacking attempts could be false and that they should also mention this in their stories.

In addition, Apple sent emails to users who received these notifications stating that they may have made a mistake and that “detection of such attacks depends on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete.”

It is also worth noting that India is of strategic value to Apple. It is expected that in 2025 India will account for 10% of the company’s total sales, and by the same year, 25% of iPhone production is planned to be moved there.

“Apple is treading a very delicate line,” said Steven Feldstein, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington who studies the spyware industry. “It needs to stand up for digital rights and its core brand of protecting privacy, but it also doesn’t want to jeopardize its presence in an extremely important market.”