While Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) is in the eye of storm for receiving funds from the Chinese establishment in 2005-06, it has now emerged that the foreign policy think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) too got funding from the Chinese consulate in Kolkata.
The ORF received Rs 1.76 crore- Rs 1.26 crore in 2016 and Rs 50 lakh in 2017.
The donors’ list and amounts received as grants from various institutions worldwide is available on the ORF website.
The ORF received three grants worth nearly Rs 1.26 crore from the Chinese consulate in Kolkata in 2016 in three tranches — Rs 7.7 lakh on April 29, 2016; Rs 11.55 lakh on November 4, 2016; and Rs 1,06,83,761 on December 31, 2016. A grant of Rs 50 lakh was received by the ORF on December 1, 2017.
The ORF website claims it provides independent analysis on security, strategy, economy, development, energy and resources. The organisation also claims to bring together leading and young experts from the Government, academia, business and civil society circles across the world who provide quality research, recommendations and analysis on a wide range of policy matters.
Dhruva Jaishankar, son of the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, is Director of the US Initiative at ORF.
Besides China, the list of foreign donors to the ORF include Delegation of the European Union to India, Australian High Commission, British High Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark, Consulate General of Japan and United Nations Development Programme. Technology giants like Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter and Facebook besides Mastercard are among other foreign donors of ORF.
The scrutiny of Chinese funding and their association with Indian institutions has come amid the ongoing stand-off between the countries in eastern Ladakh.