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India announces $200,000 emergency aid for hurricane-hit Caribbean countries

Hurricane Maria, the huge storm sweeping the eastern Caribbean, battered Guadeloupe on Tuesday.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2017 00:31 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, United Nations
India,Caribbean,Emergency Fund
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attends a meeting in UN in New York on Tuesday. (PTI)

India on Tuesday announced an emergency aid of $200,000 to the worst-affected countries by recent hurricanes in the Caribbean.

“We feel your pain. In this trying hour, we stand with you. We know your people are resilient. We stand ready to assist in your efforts to rebuild broken lives. Our efforts go out to all those affected. I offer our heartfelt condolences on the loss of precious lives,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in her address to CARICOM ministerial meeting on the sidelines of UN General Assembly.

“As a token of our solidarity, India will make available an emergency aid of $200,000 to the worst-affected countries,” she said.

She also announced another $2 million fund from the India-UN Partnership Fund for South-South Cooperation for the rehabilitation projects in the region.

“I am asking our mission to the UN to work with our partners in Antigua and Barbuda as well as Dominica and other partners to earmark an amount of $2 million from the India-UN Partnership Fund for South-South Cooperation for rehabilitation projects in CARICOM,” Swaraj said.

India, she said, undertook evacuation from Sint Maarten for not only Indians but also for nationals of nine other countries.

Observing that the Caribbean have a special place in the hearts of Indians, she said India would like to continue its interaction with its Caribbean partners on annual basis on the margins of UNGA.

“India’s ties with the Caribbean region are historic and civilisational. During the colonial era after abolition of slavery, over half a million Indians reached the shores of British colonies in the Caribbean. Many of those have assimilated into their new homes but many also preserved their traditions, thus ensuring cultural linkages between India and the Caribbean,” Swaraj said.

Flooded cars are pictured in the Lauricisque district of Pointe-a-Pitre on September 19, 2017 in the French territory of Guadeloupe, after the passage of Hurricane Maria. (AFP)

Swaraj said terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

“Counter-terrorism requires a strong collective action by the global community. A strong legal framework also needs to be established in order to address this problem,” she said.

She said an early adoption by the UNGA of the Comprehensive Convention of International Terrorism, a draft for which was proposed by India as early as 1996, is essential.

India has announced its candidature for the non-permanent seat for the UNSC for Asia-Pacific region for the period 2021-2022 and candidature of Justice Dr Dalveer Bhandari for re-election to the Court of Justice for the term 2018-2027.

She sought the support of all CARICOM member states for these candidatures.

Observing that climate change is an issue of common concern to all, Swaraj said an international regime of actions was agreed in the form of the UNFCCC in 1992.

“India’s per capita emissions are very low compared to both developed as well as other large developing countries and major emitters. Let me assure you all that India is particularly conscious of vulnerability of small island states and low-lying nations to the effect of climate change and would stand behind them in mitigating the effects of climate change,” she said.

Stating that India has set up the International Solar Alliance jointly with France, she invited the CARICOM member countries to sign the ISA Framework Agreement.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 00:31 IST