News / Asia

Pakistani Analysts Respond to Indian Flood Aid with Caution

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Sean Maroney

As hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid come pouring into Pakistan to help with the flooding crisis, Islamabad has accepted a pledge from an unlikely source, longtime rival India.

Officials with the United Nations in Pakistan announced Saturday that they have received nearly 70 percent of the $460 million aid appeal for the country's flood disaster.

Nearly a month into the flood crisis, this total includes India's recent offer of $5 million to help with the relief effort.

India's permanent representative to the United Nations Hardeep Singh Puri addressed the organization's General Assembly Friday after Pakistan accepted the pledge.

"We are willing to do all that is in our power to assist Pakistan in facing the consequences of floods," said Puri.  "We extend our wholehearted support to the government of Pakistan in its efforts for relief and rehabilitation of the adversely affected population."

Aside from the fact that the neighboring nuclear powers have fought three wars, Pakistani analysts say this offer of aid comes at a particularly sensitive time in relations between the two countries.

Within the past two months, there have been several border skirmishes between their armies with some casualties reported on either side.

In July, India's Home Secretary G.K. Pillai accused Pakistan's military intelligence agency of playing a significant role in the planning of 2008's Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.  The accusation came a day before Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna visited his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad.  Subsequently, the accusation overshadowed the talks.

International relations expert Ishtiaq Ahmad from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad says he believes the worldwide focus on Pakistan's flooding might have influenced India to offer aid to its longtime rival.

"The Indians might have been facing a big dilemma because the whole world is out there," said Ahmad.  "So they would have been an odd man out, you know, in a situation when everyone is coming.  Even Afghanistan has offered $1 million."

Riffat Hussain with Quaid-i-Azam University's Department of Peace and Conflict Studies says the issue of exchanging humanitarian aid between the two countries always has been politically sensitive.

He points to the fact Pakistan spurned India's offer to fly helicopters for relief efforts after the 2005 earthquake in the northern part of the country.

He also says India itself has declined Pakistani assistance in the past.

"There was an earthquake that had hit Gujarat about a decade ago, and Pakistan had offered humanitarian relief assistance to India and the Indian government had turned it down," said Hussain.  "So there is whole history of offers being made and spurned by the different sides."

He says he believes India's $5 million pledge is a delicate diplomatic maneuver, especially as compared to the tens of millions of dollars other countries are providing and Pakistan's enormous need for assistance.

"It's like a drop in the ocean, not even in the bucket," added Hussain.  "So therefore, I think they are sending a message not only to the international community but also to Pakistan that India means well."

From Lahore, international relations analyst Rasool Baksh Rais agrees with Hussain that the pledge largely is symbolic.  But he says some elements within Pakistan will not take kindly to the sum, especially considering India's economy is much larger than Pakistan's.

"It is also a kind of insult to injury that you are acting like a regional hegemony and look at the growth of your economy," said Rais.

He says Islamabad's acceptance of the aid could put pressure on the civilian government, as it fights growing criticism from flood victims that they have not received enough aid.

"There has been even much critique from certain opposition forces that why we cannot mobilize the national resources; they can be more than enough to meet the challenge that we are facing," added Rais.  "Why accept aid?"

Regardless of the source and size of the aid, analysts agree that every little bit will help as rains continue to soak a country seeking to emerge from the area's worst flooding in more than 80 years.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid