NEW DELHI :
India on Wednesday said it has set aside the decision of not accepting foreign aid in case of calamities and disasters and will now accept contributions from abroad to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund to combat the covid-19 pandemic.
The decision, taken in view of the devastating impact of the coronavirus contagion, seems to signal a shift from India’s decade-and-a-half-old stance of not accepting foreign assistance during calamities. “We have to understand that this pandemic is something that is unprecedented and when the PM spoke to our ambassadors and high commissioners, he asked them to make efforts so that contributions are made to this fund. So, a decision was made to accept contributions from abroad,"a person familiar with the matter said.
Modi held a meeting with Indian envoys from across the world via video link on Monday and instructed them to “suitably publicize the new PM-CARES Fund to mobilize donations from abroad".
Modi announced the PM CARES Fund last month. “Keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the covid-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of PM CARES Fund has been set up," his office had then said.
Last Friday, the US had announced $174 million financial assistance to 64 countries, including $2.9 million to India, to help fight covid-19. India also accepted material contributions made by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. “The second batch of donation from Chinese charity organizations Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations arrived in Delhi today and was received by the Indian Red Cross Society. The donation includes protective clothes, masks, respirators and ventilators," Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong said on Twitter.
“...the Chinese people will stand firmly with the Indian people on the fight against COVID19 and we’ll get through hard times together," he said in a second post on Tuesday.