#KashmirFloods: Will It Join Modi-Sharif Once Again?

Both countries have offered to help each other in the time of distress.

After five days of continuous downpour, Jammu and Kashmir had some relief from rain on Sunday.

In what could be called the worst flood situation in the valley, more than 170 people have lost their lives and hundreds of families have been displaced.

Immediately after arriving in the valley on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and top officials.

Describing the flood situation as a “national disaster”, he announced an additional special assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the state.

“More assistance will be provided, if required, after a proper survey of the situation has been made,” the Prime Minister further added.

The Prime Minister along with CM Abdullah later conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas in the Valley.

According to the Indian Express, the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) have intensified relief operations. The IE report states that the IAF had pressed into service 29 planes and helicopters including one C-17 Globemaster, three IL 76 aircraft and boats for relief and rescue operations.

Agencies have reported that the centre dispatched 70 boats and five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to the state after the decision was taken by home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday itself. The IAF has also evacuated more than 180 personnels from the affected border posts.

But the interesting turn in the events started when Prime Minister Modi, while speaking to reporters, offered help to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in combating flood situation in his country as well. It should be noted that our neighbor Pakistan is also reeling under flood fury.

He also wrote to Sharif and the letter was delivered by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

According to Financial Express, Modi wrote: “[I have been told] the damage to life and property was equally, if not more, severe in areas across the Line of Control (LoC)…My heart goes out to the affected people and my deepest sympathies are with them and their families. In this hour of need, I offer any assistance that you may need in the relief efforts that will be undertaken by the government of Pakistan. Our resources are at your disposal wherever you need them.”

Stating that it was “a matter of great distress”, Modi noted that the “devastation caused by the record rains and the consequent flooding is unprecedented”.

A statement released by the PMO later said: “In this hour of distress, the Prime Minister offered all possible assistance to the people of the region and said that the Government of India was ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those areas if the Pakistan government needs it.”

Although the Pakistani national dailies have termed it flood-aid-diplomacy, they confirmed Sharif’s shock over devastation and intention to help India while doing an aerial survey of the flooded infested border area of Pakistan on Sunday.

A report in Pakistan’s Daily Times said: “Pakistan on Sunday offered assistance and help to India to mitigate the suffering of the people of Indian –occupied Kashmir due to the floods. While responding to a question regarding floods in held Kashmir, Foreign Office spokesperson said that the government and the people of Pakistan express deepest condolences over the loss of precious lives of Kashmiri brethren on both sides of the Line of Control caused by torrential rains and flash floods.”

Pakistan’s response is being seen as an attempt to reach out to New Delhi.

The relations between the two countries have been under strain after India called off the Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled for August 25.

But the pertinent question is, will the flood situation put our ‘friendly’neigbour in the good books of India once again or will it continue its talk-plus-ceasefire-violation even after the floods are over?

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