‘UAE is not any other nation’: Kerala CM Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: Reacting to reports that the Union government has turned down aid offers from foreign governments for the Kerala floods, CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “cannot be considered any other nation”.

“As I understand, the UAE on its own has proposed this aid. The UAE cannot be considered as any other nation as their rulers have underlined,” Vijayan told The Indian Express.

“Indians, especially Keralites, have contributed immensely in their nation building,” he added.

The UAE, which is a destination for millions of Malayali migrant workers, had offered aid of $100 million (Rs 700 crore) more than 15% higher than the amount sanctioned by the Centre.

The USD 100 million offer was made by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi for Kerala to recover from the wide-scale devastation caused by floods.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had telephoned Prime Minister Modi and made the offer of assistance, the Chief Minister had said earlier.

Pm Modi in a tweet thanked the Rashid Al for his “gracious offer.” “His [Maktoum] concern reflects the special ties between governments and people of India and UAE,” the PM had said.

On Wednesday, India has refused to accept overseas donations even as several countries like UAE, Qatar (around Rs 35 crore) and Maldives (USD 50,000- Rs 35 lakh) as financial assistance for flood-hit Kerala.

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Vijayan said that according to the National Disaster Policy of 2016, funds from foreign governments can be accepted.

“As soon as this (UAE) aid was announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that this was an indeed welcome gesture and pressed the Modi government to accept the $100 million aid offered by the UAE for flood relief as the numbers sheltered in over 3,000 camps in the state rose to 1.2 million.

The daily quoted Vijayan as saying: “I do not intend to enter into any politics over it. Let’s study and understand the nuances.”

Asked if he would take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “Let’s see.”

Since 2004, India has been turning down help from foreign governments during natural disasters, sticking to the disaster aid policy set in December 2004 by then PM Manmohan Singh, quoted The Indian Express.