Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  
sassa

India Rebuffs Bill Gates in AIDS Row

Recommended Posts

India rebuffs Bill Gates in Aids row

Luke Harding in New Delhi

Monday November 11, 2002

The Guardian

Bill Gates was last night facing the prospect of a humiliating snub from India's prime minister in a row over whether India will soon have the world's largest number of HIV/Aids cases.

Mr Gates, the world's richest man, arrives in New Delhi today to announce a $100m charitable programme to fight the virus in India.

He had been expected to meet the country's prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but yesterday India's rightwing nationalist government made it clear that it was deeply unhappy with a study endorsed by Mr Gates that suggests 20-25 million Indians are likely to have the HIV virus by 2010.

The report by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies , also predicted that India will overtake South Africa as the country with the largest number of Aids cases.

In an interview over the weekend India's health minister, Shatrughan Sinha, said that Mr Gates was guilty of "spreading panic". The government took a dim view of "negative" comments by the Microsoft founder and by the US ambassador in New Delhi, Robert Blackwill, who last week warned that India was on the brink of a huge HIV/Aids crisis, officials said.

Mr Vajpayee has now cancelled a meeting with Mr Gates scheduled for later today.

The unprecedented rebuff to the world's biggest philanthropist is all the more extraordinary given the fact that India's crumbling healthcare system clearly needs his money.

"I don't think anyone should contribute to spreading general panic," Mr Sinha, an actor-turned-politician, told the Indian Express newspaper.

"We are aware of the situation and it does concern me personally. But what do we achieve by saying in public that we will have 25 million people with Aids in the coming years?" he asked.

"Every year we update the information on the HIV/Aids scene in this country. And we are surprised by the figures being cited so freely."

Mr Sinha is also likely to be "unavailable" during Mr Gates' two-day trip to India, even though he recently agreed to take time out from his apparently hectic ministerial schedule to star in a Bollywood film.

India's ruling BJP party is notoriously sensitive to any criticism from abroad, and earlier this year fell out with both Britain and the European Union after they questioned its role during communal riots in the state of Gujarat.

Campaigners say the Indian government has deliberately underestimated the number of Indians with HIV/Aids, and is in "deep denial" about the sheer scale of the problem.

Since the first case of HIV in India was discovered in 1986, the disease has spread from cities via truck drivers and prostitutes into the general population. Officially, New Delhi insists only 4 million people have the virus, but other estimates claim India already has 5-8 million cases.

Mr Gates last week paid tribute to India and said he wanted to put something back. "India is a super, super important country for the world, for the software industry and Microsoft in particular," he told the Times of India.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that's totally crazy. someone is willing to give them MILLIONS of $ to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and the prime minister refuses it just because he thinks it would cause public panic. i wonder what he'll be thinking in a few years when the AIDS crisis is a huge epidemic in his country and what kind of public panic that would cause. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by nifer

that's totally crazy. someone is willing to give them MILLIONS of $ to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and the prime minister refuses it just because he thinks it would cause public panic. i wonder what he'll be thinking in a few years when the AIDS crisis is a huge epidemic in his country and what kind of public panic that would cause. :rolleyes:

Wasn't it Guilliani who refused some few million(or billion) dollars from the Saudi prince for 9/11 because he made some comment about why it happened?

But I do agree, it is quite stupid to refuse the contribution for such a stupid reason (especially if its true!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by raver_mania

Wasn't it Guilliani who refused some few million(or billion) dollars from the Saudi prince for 9/11 because he made some comment about why it happened?

But I do agree, it is quite stupid to refuse the contribution for such a stupid reason (especially if its true!).

yeah guilliani turned down the money, but the saudi prince had no right in justifying the act. the wound was too fresh and I totally agree with the Majors actions,

But turning down 100M cause it will "cause panic" is simply STUPID :mad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by raver_mania

Wasn't it Guilliani who refused some few million(or billion) dollars from the Saudi prince for 9/11 because he made some comment about why it happened?

But I do agree, it is quite stupid to refuse the contribution for such a stupid reason (especially if its true!).

you're a moron why the hell would you take money from the saudi prince after his countrymen just tore down your city ?

he can use that money and give it to his people so they can do something besides protest and make bombs to kill us

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by siceone

you're a moron why the hell would you take money from the saudi prince after his countrymen just tore down your city ?

he can use that money and give it to his people so they can do something besides protest and make bombs to kill us

but they won't....you know why? when it takes $2 million a year just to keep your garages up...you need a lot of money...and why would they give up that lifestyle to help a few hundred thousand people?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×