PM calls Gilani,offers more aid

A week after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna offered US $ 5 million to Pakistan in aid for relief to the flood-affected...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:August 20, 2010 3:12 am

A week after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna offered US $ 5 million to Pakistan in aid for relief to the flood-affected people across the border,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday reached out to his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani and offered “more assistance”.

Singh called up Gilani and offered more assistance in handling the devastation caused by the floods even though that country was yet to respond to New Delhi’s last week’s aid offer.

Singh said “in such times of natural disasters,all of South Asia should rise to the occasion and extend every possible help to the people of Pakistan affected by the tragedy”.

Singh called Gilani “to express his sense of sorrow and to condole the deaths resulting from the huge floods that have devastated parts of Pakistan. The GoI had already made an offer of assistance and was ready to do more to assist in relief efforts.”

Nearly one-fifth of Pakistan is now reported to be badly hit by the devastating flood,the worst for the country in 80 years. Over 1,700 people have died and the UN says more than 6,50,000 people are without basic shelter while six million desperately need emergency aid.

Last week,Krishna had called Qureshi and offered $5 million in aid for flood relief work. Krishna had described the offer as a “gesture of solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their hour of need”,a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

With Pakistan yet to decide on taking US $ 5 million in aid for flood relief work from India,the US has said politics should have no role in disaster response and it “expects” Islamabad to accept the assistance. “In terms of responding to a disaster,politics should play no role. You have a country (India) that’s willing to help (Pakistan)… We expect that Pakistan will accept,” US State Department spokesman P J Crowley said in Washington.

Earlier,Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi thanked India for offering $5 million aid for the relief of flood victims.

He profusely thanked India’s top diplomat here for the offer. He said he had received a telephone call in New York from Krishna.

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