Not too long ago, Congress leaders led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi replaced their pictures with posters that read “Modiji humare bachon ki vaccine Videsh kyu bhej Diya (Modi, why did you send vaccines of our children to foreign countries?) on social media.
In another episode, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, questioned the government’s decision to export coronavirus vaccines.
“Was the export of vaccines also an oversight, like many other decisions of this government, or an effort to garner publicity at the cost of our own citizens?” Gandhi asked PM Modi in the letter.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, while addressing a virtual press conference, said 1.07 crore vaccine doses sent abroad were India’’s aid to different countries and noted that of those, 78.5 lakh were dispatched to seven neighboring countries. “A safer neighborhood is good for India too,” he said. Patra said more than two lakh doses were given to the UN peace-keeping force, in which over 6,600 Indian soldiers are deployed.
While the BJP-led government and its opposition continue to banter over vaccine diplomacy and politics over the COVID-19 pandemic in India. It is important to understand this issue vaccine diplomacy that has been attacked by Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, and other senior Congress leaders in comparison to USD 24 billion aid from India in 2009 till 2012 to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out some European nations due to the Eurozone financial crisis. India’s decision to commit to the bailout was taken under Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
In 2011 sovereign debt crisis seemed to be spreading to other European countries such as Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, UK, and even Hungary. The terrified investors exposed not only to Greek debt and its derivatives but also to the debts of other European countries. This resulted in great volatility in stock markets and foreign exchange markets throughout Europe, the US, and Asian countries.
India did not escape from this new global crisis. The Indian exports to European countries and the US declined which adversely affected India’s industrial growth. The decline in India’s exports also brought about an increase in the current account deficit (CAD) to 4.2% of GDP in 2011-12 and further to around 5% GDP in 2012-13. Such a large current account deficit was unsustainable and was a matter of great concern. Besides, the large current account deficit in 2011 -12 and 2012-13 put pressure on the Indian rupee which sharply depreciated.
In June 2012, India has pledged a USD 10-billion contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it create an additional USD 450-billion firewall to resolve the Eurozone crisis.“
“The IMF has a critical supportive role to play in stabilizing the Eurozone. All members must help the fund in playing this role. I am happy to announce India has decided to contribute USD 10 billion to the IMF’s additional firewall of USD 430 billion,” Dr. Manmohan Singh had told the media in a press conference.
In 2009, too, India had committed USD 10 billion to the IMF to help it tackle the global financial crisis. It had again contributed USD 4 billion in 2010.
Reportedly, the Indian government’s logic was that India’s contribution would be just 2.22 percent of the additional liquidity injected into the IMF, close to its quota of 2.44 percent in the fund. A member’s quota determines its financial and organizational relationship with the IMF.
If the Indian government under the UPA can provide financial aid to IMF to bailout Europe during the Eurozone crisis with reportedly USD 24 billion from 2009 to 2012 when India was also impacted by the global financial crisis, then I am failing to understand Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and other Congress leaders online protest to the Narendra Modi-led governments’ vaccine diplomacy stand.
The cost (including transportation) incurred by the Modi government on gifting 357.2 lakh doses of Vaccines (mostly to poor nations) was about ₹762 crores (€0.087 Billion), or just 0.363% of the €24 Billion gifted by the Sonia government mostly to nations far richer than India.
Why did Sonia Gandhi as UPA Chairman allow for Dr. Manmohan Singh to give our taxpayers money away to bail out European countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy? Could not the USD 24 billion be used to better the future of our children in India? Why did Sonia Gandhi send money that could be used for our children’s future abroad?