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Press Guidance on India's position on Tsunami relief assistance

New Delhi
January 21, 2005

During the past three weeks, the Government and the people of India have been engaged in an unprecedented effort to overcome the loss of life and devastation caused by the Tsunami. There has been an overwhelming response and demonstration of support by individuals and non-governmental organizations in India. Foreign governments and international agencies have also extended overwhelming sympathy and support. This has been an occasion for the display of national solidarity as also solidarity amongst the peoples of the world. The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund has received and continues to receive substantial contributions from both within India and abroad, to assist in our relief efforts.

India takes pride in the fact that even while it has had to cope with the Tsunami disaster within its own shores, it has been able to extend modest assistance to friendly neighbouring countries, who have suffered extensive damage from this natural disaster. We intend to continue our support, within the limitations of our own resources, in the new phase of rehabilitation and reconstruction in these countries.

In India too, we are currently clearing the decks for a massive programme of reconstruction of areas that have been destroyed by the Tsunami. This also involves an extensive programme for rehabilitation of the people rendered homeless and those who have also lost their means of livelihood. In this phase, we will continue to mobilize a major national effort in which major contributions will have to be made by Government agencies, NGOs as well as the efforts of individuals. During the relief phase, Government of India had stated that while it deeply appreciated the offers of assistance from foreign Governments and international agencies, it had the capabilities and resources to deal with the aftermath of the disaster through its own national effort. Taking into account the requirements that are now emerging in the new phase of rehabilitation and reconstruction, the Government of India has decided to approach international and multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations for assistance. Such assistance will be closely coordinated with our own national effort and will have, as its objective, the earliest possible return to normalcy in the areas affected by the Tsunami.

Funds from bilateral and other multilateral sources could also be channelised through these three agencies in order to ensure better coordination.

It may be noted that international NGOs in India are already working side by side with their Indian counterparts and Government agencies in extending valuable assistance to people in the Tsunami affected areas. We deeply appreciate their contribution and look forward to our continuing partnership with them.

While most Tsunami affected areas are open to the activities of foreign and international agencies and NGOs, there are only a few sensitive areas where the Government of India will be relying on its own resources to carry out rehabilitation and reconstruction.