Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and offered assistance after Monday’s massive Afghanistan earthquake that also caused devastation in many Pakistani cities and sent tremors across north India. Modi said he also spoke to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.
A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan shook buildings from Kabul to Delhi, cut power and communications in some areas and caused several deaths, mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Indian PM also thanked Sharif for the care extended to Geeta, a hearing and speech impaired woman who returned to India after living in Pakistan for 15 years.
Modi earlier said India was ready to help Kabul and Islamabad. “Heard about strong earthquake in Afghanistan-Pakistan region whose tremors have been felt in parts of India. I pray for everyone’s safety,” he tweeted. “We stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
He followed it up with telephonic conversations with Ghani, who briefed him about the deaths and destruction, and Sharif. Pakistan Television said Sharif thanked Modi for the offer.
“Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & expressed condolences on the loss of lives due to the quake. Offered all possible assistance from India,” Modi tweeted. “Expressed my gratitude to PM Nawaz Sharif for his efforts that ensured Geeta returned home,” Modi said in another tweet.
Modi reached out to Pakistan despite the frosty relations between the two countries and the renewed cross-border firing by Pakistan in which one civilian has been killed in Jammu and Kashmir and several others injured, besides leading to a scare in the border villages.
Sharif also has been criticising India at international level like at the UN and in his meeting with US resident Barack Obama last week.
Pakistan’s information minister Pervez Rashid, meanwhile, told a news conference Pakistan will not issue any appeals to the international community for help as the country has the required resources to carry out the rescue and relief work. He also thanked neighboring India for offering support to Islamabad for the quake victims.
He said Pakistani civil and military authorities were trying their best to reach those affected by the quake.
“We have enough resources to handle the situation. Our top priority is to help those affected because of the earthquake,” he said.
Rashid said Pakistani Minister Nawaz Sharif was returning home after completing his visit to the United States.