India on Friday offered Pakistan assistance of $5 million in relief material for the victims of the massive floods that has caused widespread damage to life and property across the country over the past fortnight.
The assistance was offered to Pakistan by External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna this evening when he telephoned his counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. According to a release put out by the External Affairs Ministry, Mr. Krishna offered the assistance as a gesture of solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their hour of need.
The Minister also conveyed India’s deepest sympathies and condolences to the people and Government of Pakistan on this natural disaster. Last week, Mr. Krishna had sent a condolence message to Mr. Qureshi. The logistics of how this assistance will be provided will be worked out by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad in consultation with the Pakistan Government.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Foreign Office also put out a statement on the telephonic conversation but made no mention of the assistance offered by India. According to the statement, Mr. Krishna conveyed India’s deep sympathies and the two ministers felicitated each other for their respective Independence Days.
The telephonic conversation was the first direct engagement between the two ministers after their meeting in Islamabad on July 15 which ended on an acrimonious note. Since then, the only engagement between the two countries has been through condolence messages; Pakistan on a train accident in India and New Delhi on the floods and the air crash in Islamabad.
The Indian offer for assistance to Pakistan in this hour of trial comes two days after the United Nations issued an appeal for $460 million as emergency aid for the flood-affected millions across the length and breadth of the country.