Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday sent his wishes for the people affected by floods in Kerala and expressed his country’s readiness to provide any humanitarian assistance that might be needed.
“On behalf of the people of Pakistan, we send our prayers and best wishes to those who have been devastated by the floods in Kerala, India. We stand ready to provide any humanitarian assistance that may be needed,” he tweeted on Thursday.
His tweet came even as a massive row erupted between the Narendra Modi government and the left Democratic Front government in Kerala over the Rs 700-crore offer of financial assistance made by United Arab Emirates (UAE) and some other foreign countries for the flood-ravaged people of the state.
New Delhi’s refusal to accept foreign aid has angered the state government which has accused the centre of standing on false prestige and ignoring the massive humanitarian assistance needed to grapple with the calamity.
The state government said that the UAE, which is home to around 2.8 million expatriate Indians – most of who hail from Kerala, should not be treated by the centre like any other foreign country in view of the contribution made by Keralites in the development of the Gulf nation.
While the Kerala government has been saying it needs the funds given the humongous loss of everything from agricultural land to civic infrastructure, the Centre rejected UAE’s offer on Wednesday citing “existing policy”.
“The government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries.
“In line with the existing policy, the government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts,” Kumar said.
The “existing policy” the foreign ministry was referring to dates back to 2004 when the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress took a decision not to accept foreign aid.
Addressing reporters at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that his government will “initiate high-level discussions, if needed, with authorities at the Centre to enable the fund- transfer from the UAE govt in the wake of deluge in Kerala”.