Myanmar ready to accept international aid: India

May 12th, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) India Monday requested Myanmar to accept international aid and reiterated its continuing assistance to the cyclone-hit country in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts. The military-ruled country, in turn, expressed readiness to accept international relief and medical supplies. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is currently in the United Arab Emirates on a two-day visit, spoke to his Myanmarese counterpart U. Nyan Win and expressed India’s “empathy and solidarity” with the people of Myanmar.

This was the first official conversation between India and Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis May 2 devastated the southeast Asian country killing thousands of people and rendering tens of thousands homeless.

The minister reiterated “India’s readiness to assist Myanmar in whatever way we can in both relief and rehabilitation efforts,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna told reporters here.

“He also urged Myanmar to accept international relief supplies to supplement their efforts,” Sarna added.

The foreign minister of Myanmar “expressed gratitude for the prompt and generous assistance by India.”

“Myanmar also conveyed readiness to accept international relief and medical supplies,” the spokesperson said.

“He (Mukherjee) expressed deep sorrow at the tragic loss of lives and widespread damage to property and underlined the empathy and solidarity of the government and people of India with the government and people of Myanmar,” Sarna said.

Giving an update on India’s assistance to the cyclone-hit people of Myanmar, Sarna stressed on the “spontaneous and immediate” help India provided soon after the deadly cyclone unleashed death and destruction in that country.

“This was keeping in mind our close and friendly neighbourly relations with Myanmar,” he observed.

Two Indian Navy ships - INS Rana and INS Kirpan - carrying relief and medical supplies, and five Indian aircraft carrying tents, medicine, roofing material and other relief items have already reached Myanmar. These include an IL-76 aircraft which landed in Yangon Monday carrying ready-to-eat meals.

India was one of the first few countries to dispatch relief and medical supplies last week after reports trickled in about a massive cyclone killing over 30,000 people in the military-ruled country.

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