India has made its stand clear that the centre will not accept international assistance in dealing with the aftermath of Kerala floods, and this would include the Rs 700 crore assistance promised by the United Arab Emirates.
An official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said, "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 in Kerala. 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."
Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had earlier itself questioned the government's stand. He wrote, "We asked Union Government for financial support of â‚¹2200 Cr ; they grant us a precious â‚¹600 Cr. We make no request to any foreign government but UAE governmentv voluntarily offers â‚¹700 cr. No, says Union gov, it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid. This is a dog in the manger policy."
He further questioned the government and said that chapter 9 of the National Disaster Management Plan on international cooperation accepted that in time of severe calamity, voluntary aid given by a foreign government can be accepted. "Still if Union Government chooses to adopt a negative stance towards offer made by UAE government, they should compensate Kerala," he added.
On Monday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that the crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had informed Lulu Group Chairman MA Yusuff Ali about the assistance.
The UAE administration had communicated this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. â€œFor scores of Keralites, Gulf is their second home. Keralites are not mere workers there. If we take the population and houses there, a Keralite would have some kind of connection with many of the houses there. There is a Malayali touch in everything. In our current distress, the people in the Gulf are as emotional as we are," the Chief Minister had said.