UAE is not any other nation: Chief Minister

Govt inherited 14-year-old policy of refusing foreign aid Kannanthanam
The Union tourism minister also appealed to all the Indians to donate 'big money' for the flood-hit Kerala

24 August, 2018

"The initiative shown by the people of Kerala, other states and from Indian citizens from nearly all walks of life who have come together in the time of crisis to supplement the efforts of the government machinery maybe highlighted", the note says.

The money is being offered for rehabilitation of the victims of Kerala floods and reconstruction of public properties damaged due to the monsoon fury. The Centre should not deny others a chance to help Kerala, since its financial package is far below the amount requested, said state finance minister Thomas Issac. "So given that, I don't know why they should deny some government or individual (who can help)", Mr Issacs said.

Experts say the policy to refuse global funds, put in place following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, is meant to show that India is capable of dealing with natural disasters.

However, the state has been getting help from across the national and global community, and the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund has received Rs 318 crore in donations till Thursday.

"If a foreign government makes an offer of help, you may kindly express your appreciation for the honest sentiments and willingness to assist".

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Though part of the offer from the Gulf countries could have come from efforts of the Indian diaspora, some sections have tried to equate the decision to refuse foreign funds for Kerala with political calculations of the BJP-led Narendra Modi government. Though the U.S. refused to take help from Cuba and Venezuela, countries hostile to it, it accepted aid from most others, including even poor nations.

Trying to shed its longtime image as a poverty-wracked nation, India has refused to accept aid from foreign governments since a 2004 tsunami, when New Delhi told potential government donors that India would contact them if it needed financial aid. However, India's change in stance has widely been viewed as a proclamation of the country's self-worth.

In 2005, the United States was swamped with offers of help from countries around the world when it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that most of the stranded people have been rescued and searches would continue in isolated houses to find if any persons are trapped. It is also an indication of India's economic clout as the country has been providing aids to others.

The decision to refuse financial aid from outside evolved at a time when India was offering itself as an attractive market and investment destination to foreign investors. "But I am not sure if there is anything wrong in seeking humanitarian assistance from foreign agencies, especially in areas where they have an edge over us", says Mansingh. One among those who have extended their support to the flood-ravaged state is United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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