Friday 22 June 2012

Sonia’s $12b gift to Europe (PO)

By M D Nalapat

Blood is thicker than water, so it is not surprising that Sonia Gandhi’s heart is firmly anchored in Europe, the continent of her birth. Almost every month, there are house guests from Europe in 10 Janpath, the stately mansion that has been set aside by successive governments in India to provide the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi a home. Now that Sonia’s two children are well into adulthood, the Manmohan Singh government has allocated two other bungalows for them, for daughter Priyanka and son Rahul to use as and when they deem it necessary.

Whenever the Congress Party has been in power, it has shown its gratitude to the Nehru family in myriad ways. This columnist recently left Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and while in Mumbai, crossed the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link into the city, returning from Mumbai to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. Although the media in India has been prompt in looking askance at the many statues of Dalit icon Kanshi Ram and his protege Mayawati that have been erected in Uttar Pradesh while Mayawati was the state’s Chief Minister, thus far they do not appear to have noticed the many tens of thousands of statues of Motilal Nehru, his son Jawaharlal, grand-daughter Indira and great-grandson Rajiv that adorn multiple locations in the country now once again under the control of the Nehru family.

However, relatives from the Kashmiri Brahmin side of the family (ie the actual Nehrus) seldom get invited to 10 Janpath, and hardly ever enjoy the exalted status of house guests. That privilege is almost exclusively reserved for relatives from Europe, especially Italy, the country of Sonia’s birth. Almost every month, either she or her children go to Europe, to luxuriate in the simple comforts of home after having escaped the stifling luxuries that their VVIP status automatically gives them in India, such as huge mansions, state-provided staff, convoys of automobiles, chartered flights and so much else that a grateful nation bestows on the mother, son and daughter who collectively constitute the Congress High Command.

Naturally, the language used while talking to each other is Italian, and naturally, while travelling in the Mother Continent of Europe, the family sheds the unfamiliar dress that is the uniform of politicians in India to slip into European garb, or very often American, such as denims and sports shirts. A respectful media, both national and international, do not even attempt to intrude into such private space. Sonia is lucky,in that the tribal instincts of reporters from the “civilised world” ensure that they almost always give her and her immediate family favourable treatment, while blacking out entirely the extended family, and its economic and commercial parameters. In India of course, the Income-tax department, the Enforcement Directorate, the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation collectively ensure that their beloved Madam is not disturbed by negative reporting. Of what use is state power, unless it can be deployed in this quiet way, in order to protect the family that has given its name to almost every major government scheme in India?

This columnist is still, at the time of writing, a UNESCO Peace Chair. However, his views on the way in which certain countries in Europe have been seeking to return to the 19th century have apparently been noted in Paris, so it is very likely that this appellation may not be available for much longer. As with the broader UN bureaucracy, UNESCO too is heavily influenced by West Europe and its allies across the Atlantic Ocean, who regard as anti-democratic any opinion that does not fully conform to their own. However, despite the obvious risks of such a course, it would be impossible for the conscience of this columnist to permit the expression of views in the diluted form that would ensure an absence of hostility within influential quarters in the civilised world. If this means that the UNESCO Peace Chair tag be removed from his name, so be it Since their assumption of office in 2004,there has been a systematic effort by the Sonia-led ruling coalition to ensure that policies get followed which severely degrade the ability of India to compete against European commercial entities in the global market. Interest rates have been raised to levels that can only be described as criminal, having gone well beyond the level of classification as insane.

The latest gift to Europe is a cash transfer of $10 billion, evidently on top of the $2 billion already committed to the International Monetary Fund. That the euro is in a terminal state is obvious. There is no way that Italy and even France can escape monetary and economic disaster,it is just a matter of time. As for Greece and Spain, they are in a terminal state. Rather than throw money away by giving funds to an IMF controlled by Christine Lagarde for the sole purpose of getting the rest of the world to hand over their surpluses to the profligate in Europe, it would have been better to invest in gold or in assets, including assets abroad. Instead, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who knows the mind of his political boss well and has therefore been able to continue in office without interruption, has handed over a further $10 billion to the IMF. This at a time when the fiscal deficit of his recklessly extravagant government is reaching crisis levels. The Indian economy cannot afford to gift - for that is what any loan to certain European countries is - even $10 million. The economy is just two to three years away from bankruptcy. The decision of the Sonia-led ruling coalition to throw taxpayer money away is in line with other policies that favour Europe at the expense of India.

Of course, for the same reason why the media in India is quiet, so are the so-called “Opposition” parties, none of whom have protested with any vigour at this destructive decision. According to senior officials within the government,the $12 billion handed over to certain European states via the IMF will soon be joined by a further tranche of $10 billiion, discussions for which are going on. If it were not that the human consequences of such decisions on hundreds of millions of semi-starved people are so tragic, it could be termed the Theatre of the Absurd. A country with 300 million at starvation level throwing away huge dollops of cash at countries where the population enjoys an infinitely better life. Those that have will get mire, while those that are poor will find themselves even more worse off. This seems to be the logic of present-day geopolitics.

—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

No comments:

Post a Comment