India keen on helping Pakistan, but awaiting response to initial offer

Pakistan villagers flee from an area due to heavy flooding in Jacobabad, Pakistan on Sunday. The Pak government is yet to decide on accepting India’s offer of $5 million as aid for flood victims.  

India on Monday said it was willing to provide more aid to help the flood-affected in Pakistan, but was awaiting a response to its initial offer of $5 million.

“We are keen to help Pakistan in its hour of need,” informed sources said.

Acknowledging that the initial offer might seem modest, especially compared to the millions of dollars it gave to other neighbours for relief and rehabilitation, the sources said it would be easier for India to move more aid provided the response to its offer was positive. Denying that the announcement of aid to Pakistan was made on second thoughts, the sources said that with the National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) in place, India was well positioned to quickly push across relief materials across the border. When an earthquake struck upper Pakistan in 2005, Islamabad accepted the Indian aid that was sent through three trains and 45 trucks, besides airlifting relief.

“The aid offer has nothing to do with political point scoring. We would like to help any way we can,” the sources reiterated, while denying that the offer was niggardly by calling for comparisons with that of the states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

In case Pakistan asked India to channel its aid through the United Nations, New Delhi would see “what it can do.” It had no issues with sending aid through the U.N. and had done so often, most notably in the case of Palestine.

But in this case the aid was offered on a bilateral basis, the sources pointed out.

In Islamabad, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi sought to explain the time being taken to decide on New Delhi's offer. “The Indian offer — India asked us what kind of assistance we required and asked us to prioritise — has been communicated to the leadership and the leadership is considering it,” he said at a press conference.

Asked why the Indian offer was being treated differently from what was made by other countries, Mr. Qureshi said: “Our relationship is different and given the sensitivities.... Anyway, it is not as if the floods are over. It is an unfolding emergency which requires a long-drawn out strategy. This is a continuous effort.”

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 2:50:04 AM |

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