India Pakistan Engage in 'Flood Aid Diplomacy'
Copy of A man carries his luggage on a wooden log as he moves to a safer location in a flooded area
India and Pakistan, with the former having recently called off secretary-level talks over Pakistan’s decision to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders, have offered each other assistance in dealing with catastrophic floods that have affected the two countries.
In a measure of ‘flood aid diplomacy,” India reached out to Pakistan, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering assistance to Pakistan in areas “across the line of control.”
"I visited some of the areas affected by unprecedented rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir today. The devastation caused by the record rains and the consequent flooding is unprecedented. There have been many deaths and heavy damage to property and infrastructure… While reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, I was informed that the damage to life and property is equally, if not more, severe in areas across the Line of Control as well... In this hour of need, I offer any assistance that you may need in the relief efforts that will be undertaken by the Government of Pakistan. Our resources are at your disposal wherever you need them,” Modi said in a letter to Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
"In this hour of distress, the Prime Minister offered all possible assistance to the people of the region and said that the Government of India was ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those areas if the Pakistan government needs it," a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Islamabad in response said it was "ready to help in whatever way possible to mitigate the suffering of the people affected by the floods.”The government and the people of Pakistan express deepest condolences over the loss of precious lives of our Kashmiri brethren on both sides of the LoC caused by torrential rains and flash floods. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif carried out an aerial survey of the affected area in AJK and Pakistan and is monitoring relief and rescue operations. We also feel the pain of the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir (sic) and are ready to help in whatever way possible to mitigate the sufferings of the people affected by the floods,” the statement from the Foreign Office said (as quoted by Dawn News).
Hundreds have died in the floods that affected India’s Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-held Kashmir, Sindh and Punjab regions.
In India, the army is playing a central role in rescue operations in J&K, rescuing 15,000 people till Sunday evening. "I appeal to people to not panic, I know the circumstances are bad but request them to stay on upper floors. We promise to reach them," J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said whilst appealing for calm.
In Pakistan, the death toll on Sunday crossed 110. According to Radio Pakistan, troops have rescued about a thousand people from flood-hit areas of Jhelum, Sarai Alamghir, Sialkot and Qadirabad. The Punjab government has declared a flood emergency, with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif directing authorities to expedite rescue and relief efforts. PM Sharif chaired an emergency session on the floods over the weekend, where he issued a directive for all major national highways, which have been cut off due to heavy rains, to be cleared for relief and rescue operations to continue.