India has agreed to Pakistan's request to route flood aid through the United Nations. Indicative of the mistrust between the two countries, Islamabad has conveyed to New Delhi that it is willing to accept the aid of $5 million, that it had been deliberating for a while, but it should be routed through the UN.
The UN route is a clear deviation, as both nations sent assistance to each other, during 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and 2002 Gujarat earthquake, directly.
“We don’t wish to score any political points on the issue as . Afterall, the assistance is meant for the flood relief,” a government official said.
India had offered an aid of $5 million when External Affairs Minister spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on August 13.
On August 19, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke with his Pakistan counterpart, Yousaf Raza Gillani, to express solidarity over the country's devastating floods and to urge him to accept the aid offer. Singh also assured Gilani that India is willing to do more in terms of flood relief.
Pakistan has been delaying a response to receiving Indian aid for the worst flood in its history that claimed 1600 lives and displaced 20 million people. A flash appeal from the UN, had said that $500 million is needed to cover the first 90 days of disaster relief.
Militants scare USAID boss
The seniormost Indian-American in the Obama Administration, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah was quickly spirited away from a flood relief camp in Pakistan due to the possible presence of individuals affiliated to terrorist outfits.
The incident occurred at a camp established in a school building in Sukkur that was allegedly being run by the Falah-I-Insaniyat, a front of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, the terrorist outfit behind the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
Shah later said at a press conference, “Within a few minutes of being there, our security informed me that there were some suspicious individuals in the area and we needed to leave. So we tried to make as graceful and appropriate an exit as possible.”
HTC, New York