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Updated: August 21, 2010 01:40 IST

India welcomes Pakistan's acceptance of aid

Sandeep Dikshit
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A flood survivor holds her child surrounded by flood waters in Muzaffargarh, Pakistan. Pakistan has accepted the $ 5 million aid offered by India for flood relief.
AP
A flood survivor holds her child surrounded by flood waters in Muzaffargarh, Pakistan. Pakistan has accepted the $ 5 million aid offered by India for flood relief.

The External Affairs Ministry has welcomed Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's announcement in New York accepting aid from India, and noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered more assistance to help Islamabad carry out relief and rehabilitation work.

“We welcome the decision of Pakistan to accept the aid offer,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told journalists here on Friday. “We believe India and Pakistan share a common destiny, and it is in common interest of both countries to work together for cordial and cooperative relations.”

Mr. Prakash noted that the initial aid offer was a goodwill gesture to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan who have been hit by the worst floods since Independence. Senior officials also point out that the intention is not to score political points, and assured that the country was willing to give more once Islamabad made up its mind about the reasonableness of engaging with New Delhi on this aspect.

India responded unilaterally to Pakistan's needs several days after the floods with an offer of $5 million. Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna called Mr. Qureshi, and condoled the deaths and devastation while making the aid offer.

However, Islamabad withheld its consent for a full week while its leadership argued that aid from New Delhi was being evaluated separately from other offers of assistance because of the “sensitivities involved.”

This pushed into the background India's delayed and modest offer, and instead brought the spotlight back to the Pakistani leadership with the world community urging it not to view such assistance through the political prism.

Pakistan's acceptance was timed with the United Nations achieving its immediate target of collecting $460 millions mainly due to exertions by U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas and then convened a hasty session of the General Assembly, where several countries upped their aid offers.


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