There is a chance that India can save lives in Pakistan. That should be good enough a reason to accept Indian assistance
The Indian foreign secretary and prime minister offered it even before Gen Musharraf called for international assistance for rescue and relief work after the recent earthquake. Pakistan, he said, needs ‘transport and helicopter resources’, tents, blankets and medicines. But he was loth to accept them from the Indians just across the border. Even while asking the Americans for a ‘quick and generous response’ he found it unnecessary to take up India’s offer of help — because of the “sensitivity” involved (via Secular-Right).
The only sensitivity involved is that in Gen Musharraf’s mind, allowing India to provide assistance to Kashmiris — even those on the Pakistani side — is politically unpalatable. The hotline, as the Calcutta Telegraph reports, has gone cold.
The Pakistani leadership, which received teams of experts from Turkey, Britain and China today, also appears to be unsure how much India can help. â€œWe are not sure whether any country in South Asia has the kind of expertise required to deal with such a situation,â€ a Pakistani official said in private. [CT]
The Indian government, of course, has its work cut out providing rescue and relief work for its own people. But if the Pakistani leadership had been less curmudgeonly, India would not have found wanting in terms of tents, blankets, medicines and yes, even those helicopters.
As Robi Sen writes, Musharraf may already be using this tragedy as moral blackmail to extract more money and aid from the United States. That is a cynical calculus not beyond Musharraf. That’s perhaps another one of those ‘sensitivities’.