accepts Indian aid offer
After dithering for a week, Pakistan
today accepted India's offer of USD five million in aid for flood
relief in the country and appreciated its "very positive" gesture
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday received an unexpected, yet
pleasant, gift from Pakistan when a box of choicest mangoes arrived
at his office, sent with the best compliments of his counterpart
from across the border.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sent the delicious
shipment to Manmohan Singh, soon after accepting India’s $5 million
assistance toward flood relief in Pakistan.
“Yes, we did get the box of mangoes. It was with the best
compliments from the people of Pakistan,” a top official at the
Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) told IANS when asked about the fruity
gift from across the border.
The box was delivered by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
Incidentally, the luscious king of fruits is the official fruit of
both India and Pakistan, and both countries boast of being home to
hundreds of varieties, which are popular not just within their
countries but internationally as well.
Pakistan’s gesture followed India’s $5 million assistance to
Islamabad after large parts of the neighbouring country were hit by
the worst-ever floods in decades that have left over 1,600 people
dead and affected over 20 million.
Just a few months ago, when relations between the two neighbours
were not particularly at their best, with New Delhi saying there was
a “trust deficit” between the two nations, Manmohan Singh had sent a
20 kgs of special Alphonso mangoes to Pakistan for Gilani.
Pakistan’s then president Pervez Musharraf, ahead of his visit to
India for the 2001 Agra summit, had sent a similar consignment to
then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy L.K. Advani.
It is said assassinated prime minister Indira Gandhi, too, had made
a similar gesture in the late 1970s.
Pakistani officials announced Friday the country was accepting the
Indian offer of $5 million aid for its flood victims, and New Delhi
welcomed Islamabad’s stand on what was called a “goodwill gesture of
“I can share with you that the government of Pakistan has agreed to
accept the Indian offer (of $5 million aid),” Pakistan’s Foreign
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters on the sidelines of a
session at the UN headquarters in New York.
The decision to accept India’ds assistance came after Manmohan Singh
spoke to Gilani Thursday and expressed sorrow and condoled the
deaths due to the devastating floods in Pakistan.
In October 2005, after a massive earthquake, India had sent three
consignments of relief material to Pakistan and it was the first
time Indian Air Force (IAF) planes had landed in Islamabad to
deliver the consignment after decades of animosity.