Prime Minister Narendra Modi is most likely to decline the Rs 700 assistance offered by UAE for the reconstruction works in floods-hit Kerala. According to government sources, in this regard Prime Minister Modi may only follw the disaster aid policy set in December 2004 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
At that time Manmohan Singh famously said, “We feel that we can cope with the situation on our own and we will take their help if needed.” That set the Indian policy, and Delhi has since then decided to follow it, of not accepting aid from foreign governments. The 2004 tsunami, which affected the coast of Tamil Nadu as well as Andaman and Nicobar Islands, killed more than 12,000 people and displaced 6 lakh.
When tsunami hit India in December, 2004, that was the “watershed moment” for India’s disaster aid policy. A government official admitted that “we are following the policy since 2004, and have been turning down assistance from foreign governments since then. In Kerala also, we are sticking to that policy.”
Until then, India had accepted aid from foreign governments. The government had accepted aid for the Uttarkashi earthquake (1991), Latur earthquake (1993), Gujarat earthquake (2001), Bengal cyclone (2002) and Bihar floods (July 2004).
However, this policy is limited to foreign governments only. It does not extend to individuals and charity organisations. NRIs and non-governmental agencies can assist. UAE may not be first country that India declines aid. Earlier too India has refused aid from Russia, US and Japan for Uttarakhand floods in 2013, and for the Kashmir earthquake in 2005 and floods in Kashmir in 2014.