Govt. will meet Kerala’s needs through domestic efforts: MEA

India rejects offers of foreign aid for Kerala relief; NRIs, PIOs and foundations can donate to the PM and CM relief funds

Updated - August 23, 2018 12:39 am IST

Published - August 22, 2018 10:06 pm IST - NEW DELHI

NDRF teams leave Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday after relief operations in various parts of Kerala.

NDRF teams leave Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday after relief operations in various parts of Kerala.

India has said a polite ‘no’ to offers of foreign assistance to the Kerala flood victims. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said India will rely on domestic resources for the State’s ongoing flood relief efforts.

“In line with the existing policy, the Government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts,” the MEA’s official spokesperson said on Wednesday.

It was the first time, since the floods struck Kerala, that the MEA clearly indicated India’s preference for domestic resources over foreign assistance.

The spokesperson, however, indicated that certain foreign entities other than governments were welcome to contribute to disaster relief, and said, “Contributions to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and international entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome.”

The formal declaration of India’s official position on foreign aid for flood relief in Kerala came hours after the ambassador of Thailand revealed that India was not accepting foreign offers for help.

“Informally informed with regret that the Government of India is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief. Our hearts are with you, the people of Bharat,” Thailand’s Ambassador to India Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi declared in a message posted on social media.

The message from the Thai ambassador and the statement from the MEA spokesperson settled the debate over the reported offer from the government of UAE to help flood relief with ₹700 crore.

The total volume of financial support from the entire Gulf region (including UAE) is calculated to be far greater than the ₹600 crore that the government of India has declared for Kerala so far.

However, the official position is in accordance with the existing standpoint regarding foreign assistance which stems from the fact that India is “capable” of dealing with natural calamities.

It is understood that ‘as of now’ India will continue to deal with natural calamities in the way it has dealt with such episodes in the last 15 years when a convention to avoid foreign aid was adopted in the backdrop of the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 and the tsunami of 2004.

However, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has stated that his country is providing support to Kerala through institutions.

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