New York: India`s permanent representative to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, has given a cheque for USD 20 million to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as India`s contribution towards the `Pakistan Emergency Response Plan`.
The cheque was handed over to Ban in the presence of Pakistan`s Permanent Representative to the UN, Abdullah Hussain Haroon on Friday.
Puri recalled the messages of solidarity, sympathy and support from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna to their Pakistani counterparts in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods that affected parts of Pakistan in August this year.
"Natural disasters do not respect national boundaries. This is a small but significant gesture from the highest levels of the Indian government conveying the message that the people of India stand by the people of Pakistan in their hour of need," he said.
This amount of USD 20 million is in addition to the amount of USD 5 million that the Government of India has already contributed to the World Food Programme for its relief efforts in Pakistan.
Later, at a meeting for the launch of the `Revised Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan`, Puri noted that Pakistan has been severely affected by the massive floods and the humanitarian catastrophe continues to unfold.
"India is familiar with the consequences of natural disasters and therefore understands very well the trauma and the suffering that our Pakistani brethren are going through," he said
"We cannot remain unconcerned with this grave humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude in our immediate neighbourhood," Puri said. "As a member of the international community and more significantly as a close neighbour, India recognizes its responsibility to support Pakistan."
The envoy said he had no doubt that the people of Pakistan have the strength and resilience to overcome this natural disaster.
However, the magnitude of the tragedy makes it incumbent on the international community to pool its energies and resources and to assist Pakistan in its efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate the devastated region, Puri said.