Ministry of External Affairs firm ‘no’ to UAE offer to flood-hit Kerala


(Online Desk)

Ending days of heated speculation on whether India would or should accept the Rs 700 crore offer by the UAE government for Kerala flood relief, the ministry of external affairs Wednesday categorically declared that New Delhi would tackle the Kerala flood disaster “through domestic efforts.”

“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,” the MEA said in a late night statement.

“In line with the existing policy, the Government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts. 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.

“On Tuesday, the ambassador of Thailand in India Chutintorn Gongsakdi had tweeted that he had been “Informally informed with regret that GOI is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief.

Our hearts are with you the people of Bharat.

“Earlier Wednesday, an Indian diplomat in a mission abroad said the MEA had sent out an advisory to all heads of missions urging them to “politely decline” any offers of aid from governments, while clarifying that aid from individuals, subject to their passing the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), would not be blocked.

A former diplomat, however, noted that there “was still an element of ambiguity” in the MEA statement. “Is the UN considered an international entity? And suppose the UAE government decides to route the money through some NGO..would that be acceptable?” he asked.