In 1991, India flew out 67 tonnes of gold to Europe to get $600 million to tide over a dire import payment crisis. Twenty years later, it says it is ready to help Europe crawl out of a debt crisis as it stares at the prospect of sovereign default by Greece.
In guarded but significant words, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said India (which has forex reserves of $318 billion) would step in, as and when needed, if a firm plan by Eurozone leaders acquires shape and requires help.
Following long negotiations, Europe's leaders last week came up with a package to wipe out Greece's 100 billion euro ($160 billion) debt.
"Let them make a credible assessment of the solvency issue, try to sort out those problems, and thereafter supplementary financing could be considered," Mukherjee told reporters.
France has been trying to persuade emerging nations such as India, China and Brazil to lend a helping hand by investing in a bailout fund.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in Cannes for the G20 summit, said, "It is imperative that the difficult decisions needed to address the economic challenges in Europe and elsewhere are taken swiftly."
A prolonged crisis in Europe will endanger the prospects of small exporters in India.