Modi rejects foreign offers of aid with thanks

Modi rejects foreign offers of aid with thanks

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stuck to his predecessor Manmohan Singh's policy and turned down offers from the United Arab Emirates and several other foreign governments for assistance to support relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction works in flood-ravaged Kerala.

New Delhi has thanked the governments of the foreign nations like UAE, Qatar, Thailand and Maldives for offering assistance to provide relief and rehabilitation of people in flood-affected areas in Kerala as well as for reconstruction of houses and public infrastructure in the State. The government however politely rejected all offers of assistance from the foreign nations.

“The Government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods,” Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Wednesday, adding: “In line with the existing policy, the Government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts.”

Sources in New Delhi said that Modi Government's decision to decline individual offers of aids from foreign governments was in sync with the policy formulated by the erstwhile Congress-led UPA regime headed by Manmohan Singh almost 14 years ago – when the Tsunami hit the southern coast of India in December 2004.

Singh had then decided against accepting aid from foreign governments, stating that India would use its own resources to respond to the calamity, to rehabilitate people affected by it and to reconstruct houses and infrastructure in the areas devastated by it. The decision had in fact been in sync with New Delhi's efforts to project growing economic clout of India.

The Government of India had rather provided assistance to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand, which had also been hit by the Tsunami.

The MEA spokesperson on Wednesday clarified that the Government would welcome contributions to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund and the Chief Minister's Relief Fund from the Non-Resident Indians, People of Indian Origin and international entities such as foundations.

“Kerala floods...Seeing what we can do...Friends caring about each other...Stay Strong Kerala!” Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Thailand's ambassador to India, posted on Twitter on August 18 last, as he was checking with Bangkok what Thailand Government could do to help New Delhi to support flood-affected people in the southern State.

Modi Government, however, later informally conveyed to the Embassy of Thailand that it would use its own resources to support the Government of Kerala to rehabilitate flood-affected people and rebuild infrastructure in the State.

“Informally informed with regret that GOI (Government of India) is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief. Our hearts are with you the people of Bharat,” Thailand's envoy to India tweeted again on Tuesday.

Modi himself took to Twitter to thank UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum after he offered assistance for Kerala.

“A big thanks to @hhshkmohd for his gracious offer to support people of Kerala during this difficult time. His concern reflects the special ties between governments and people of India and UAE,” tweeted Prime Minister.

The UAE Prime Minister, who is also the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, earlier posted on Twitter pictures of the devastation caused by the flood in Kerala, with messages of solidarity in Malayalam. 

“The state of Kerala in India is currently witnessing huge floods, the most devastating in a century. Hundreds have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Ahead of Eid Al Adha, do not forget to extend a helping hand to our brothers in India,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed.

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