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Sonia Gandhi headed Rajiv Gandhi Foundation took well over Rs 1 crore from Govt of China in 3 years, launched ‘project’ endorsing FTA

It is pertinent to note that it was in this period, in the year 2008, that Congress signed an MoU with the Chinese Communist Party, which is the only political party in China.

At a time when the Congress party is facing all the heat over its secret deals with the Communist Party of China (CPC), another exposing detail has emerged further strengthening the claims of its intimate links with China. The new expose reveals that the Chinese government had donated Rs 10 lakh to the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Foundation’ in 2006 to give ‘financial assistance’ to its charities. OpIndia had earlier reported that according to a document available on Chinese Embassy in India website, the then Chinese Ambassador to India to India Sun Yuxi had donated Rs 10 lakhs to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which has links to the Congress party and is run by Congress leaders.

Now, a perusal of the Annual Statements of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has revealed a far more sinister agenda as more details have emerged. Turns out, the Chinese government had not only donated to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in the year 2006 but subsequent years as well. It is pertinent to note that Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and since the year 2005, of which documents have been reviewed, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were the trustees.

One sinister aspect that emerged is that even in 2005-2006, it was not just the Embassy of China that had donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, but also the Chinese government itself.

Annual report of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation of 2005-2006
Annual report of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation of 2005-2006

While the donation in 2005-2006 was to the tune of Rs 10 lac, further details also emerged.

Interestingly, the Government of China not only donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in 2006, but also in the subsequent years.

In the Annual Report of the Foundation for the year 2006-2007 as well, the People’s Republic of China is listed as a donor.

Annual report of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation of 2006-2007
Annual report of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation of 2006-2007

According to the returns filed by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation dug up by Twitter user @By2Kaafi, in the year 2006-2007, the Government of China donated Rs 90 lac to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

Congress took Rs 90 lac from China in 2006-2007

Further, in the year 2007-2008, the Chinese Government was listed as a donor as well.

Annual report of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation of 2007-2008

After well over Rs 1 crore received by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the foundation launched a study focussed on the interests of China.

The Annual report of the year 2008-2009 says:

The year witnessed a high point when a high-level delegation from the RGF paid an official visit to China to participate in the celebrations to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Mr Rajiv Gandhi’s historic visit to China in 1989. The delegation, led by Mr. Veerappa Moily, Chairman of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, included Mr Salman Khurshid, former Minister of State for External Affairs, noted journalists Mr Vinod Sharma and Mrs Neerja Chaudhary, and Prof. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President of the Centre for Policy Research.

Among the delegation were two Trustees of the Foundation, Prof. Ashok Ganguly and Dr Sekhar Raha. Mr Mohammad Saqib, Fellow of the Institute, accompanied the delegation as a facilitator. In addition to several engagements, the delegation participated in the Conference, ‘Carry Forward the Tradition and Strive for Common Development: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of H.E. Rajiv Gandhi’s Visit to China’. It was jointly organised by the Foundation and the China Centre for Contemporary World Affairs.

In her message to the Conference, Chairperson of the Foundation, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, fondly recollected “the memories of our meeting with China’s Great Leader, Deng Xiaoping, and recall his pronouncement that the forthcoming century will belong to Asia”. She also said, “The tremendous growth in bilateral trade and economic relations in the last two decades, which reinforced the over-all development of ties, is a noteworthy outcome of the vision of Rajiv Gandhi and Deng Xiaop- ing.” The then Indian Ambassador to China H.E. Nirupama Rao delivered the address at the opening ceremony of the Conference.

On the same year, after receiving donations from the Government of China, two seminars were held by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation that focussed on the interests of China.

Seminars by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

There were two “projects” which were also launched by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation after the donation was received from China. The studies focussed on the “perception study” and Technology transfer from Research and Development institutions to industry in India and China.

Projects by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

Interestingly, between the years 2009 and 2010, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation went a step further and studied the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement between India and China. The study essentially wanted the economy to completely open up between India and China.

The 2009-2010 report states:

In April 2009, RGICS Fellow Mohammad Saqib carried out a feasibility study, ‘India-China: Free Trade Agreement (FTA)’, in association with Dr Purnachandra Rao. The main objective of the study was to gain a better understanding of an FTA between India and China, analyze various trade issues and identify who would stand to gain and lose from such an agreement. The report concluded that China would be the greater beneficiary in all trade dimensions because of the efficiency of its economy: ‘There is a principal need for India to improve its commodity structure to balance its performance of competitiveness and complementarities.’ The authors suggested that India needed, at the minimum, to diversify its products. The study concluded that ‘there are always losers and gainers in the regional and free trade agreements. India and China can balance the gains and losses through an FTA. Therefore both governments should decide to enter into FTA negotiations. The proposed FTA between India and China will be feasible, desirable and mutually beneficial. An FTA between India and China should also be comprehensive, with a free flow of goods, services, investment and capital.’

In 2010-2011, the FTA study continued. The expert mentioned in the annual report only goes to show how the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was continually undermining India’s position with relation to China and attempting to show China has a far more powerful entity that could only “benefit” India. The report concluded:

The study found China to be more fully integrated into the world economy as a major economic powerhouse than India, in large part because of the comparative advantage of labour surplus. But the study also proposed that an FTA would help bilateral economic relations and that the free flow of goods, services, investment and capital would, in fact, benefit India’s trade sector more than China’s.

Essentially, from the year 2005 to the year 208 at least, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was involved in taking money from the Government of China and then, subsequent to that, studies were conducted by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation that potentially undermined the position of India.

Further, it is pertinent to note that it was in this period, in the year 2008, that Congress signed an MoU with the Chinese Communist Party, which is the only political party in China.

During UPA1 in 2008, the Congress party and the Communist Party of China (CPC) had signed a deal in Beijing for exchanging high-level information and co-operation between them. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) also provided the two parties with the “opportunity to consult each other on important bilateral, regional and international developments”.

Interestingly, the MoU was signed by the then Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and on the Chinese side, it was signed by none other than Xi Jinping himself, who was then the Chinese vice-president and standing committee member of the CPC’s politburo. The MoU was signed in the presence of his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi. 

Before the signing of the MoU, the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi had held a long meeting with Xi and other senior leaders of the Communist Party of China to discuss issues of mutual interest.

In 2008, Sonia Gandhi had visited Beijing along with Rahul, daughter Priyanka, son-in-law Robert Vadra and their two children to attend the opening of the Olympic Games. A year before, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had also led a delegation of the Congress party to China. 

The 2008 MoU between CCP and Congress came at a time when the Left parties in India had expressed lack of trust in UPA-1 government led by Congress. The India Today report suggests that even as China was aware of the political landscape in India, Xi Jinping went ahead and signed the pact with Congress as CCP wanted deeper ties with Congress, especially the Gandhi 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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