India breaks studied aloofness to Pakistan’s natural disaster

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By Manish Anand

August 29: After weeks of floods ravaging various parts of Pakistan, with tolls crossing 100 mark, while millions have been displaced, India on Monday finally broke its studied aloofness from the western country.

“Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in a tweet.

This is the first and only reaction from India yet on the devastating trails of the floods in Pakistan, wrecking the country.

Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar has not yet commented on the Pakistan’s tragedy, which began unfolding in June, and by now it has been declared as super floods in scale that was seen in 2010-11.

Modi’s tweet came within a few hours of the Pakistani Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announcing that Islamabad would resume trade with India.

Ismail was quoted by the Pakistani press saying that his country would open the trade routes with India following disruption in the supply chain of the essential goods.

Incidentally, the daily essentials such as onion and tomato prices have soared beyond the reach of the common people, each quoting in excess of Rs 400 a kg.

Pakistan had previously been a major importer of Indian onion, tomato and other vegetables. Pakistan is majorly a wheat eating nation.

Reports suggest that over 35 million have been affected by the super floods in Pakistan, which have affected several parts of the country such as Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, with a number of dams also bursting, washing away houses, bridges in their trails.

It may be recalled that India froze its diplomatic relations following the Pathankot terror attack, with the only contact between the two nations had been in the form of holding of the meetings of the Indus Water Treaty Commission.

While Pakistani Finance Minister and Modi’s comments may connect a few dots, the larger plot appears evolving in India’s determined bid to turn the focus of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to deal with terrorism.

Both India and Pakistan are members of the SCO. India will be taking over the presidency of the SCO next year along with that of the G20.

While India has warm and cordial relations with all the South Asian neighbours, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives, Pakistan went off the radar of New Delhi following Islamabad’s failure to tame its Mullah-terrorist nexus.

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