India pledges highest amount of $1 Billion aid to rebuild Nepal
India seems to be on mission help for neighboring nation of Nepal that suffered massive earthquake recently. The country has announced the largest aid package for the land-locked nation.
The country has emerged as the largest donor in the process. India on Thursday announced a $1 billion aid to rebuild quake-ravaged Nepal, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying that from “the debris of destruction a stronger united and more confident Nepal will rise”. The aid will be used in the reconstruction of physical infrastructure as well as some key heritage sites. India’s contribution is almost one seventh of the total requirement of $6.7 billion.
The poor nation of around 20 million people was hit by a massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake on April 25, leaving over 8,500 people dead and causing widespread devastation. At the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction here, Sushma Swaraj said: “Nepal is not alone. Today I convey to you the deep and abiding commitment of the government of India and 1.25 billion people of India to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.” Referring to the operation India undertook to help Nepal, Sushma Swaraj said: “Operation Maitri was our largest ever disaster assistance effort abroad valued at nearly Rs.400 billion.”
Sushma said, “…what is important is not that this support was larger than other foreign countries; what matters is the strong feeling of empathy and the instantaneous, instinctive and heart-felt response from Indians for their Nepali brothers and sisters. She said: “From the debris of destruction a stronger united and more confident Nepal will rise.” Sushma Swaraj hailed Nepal’s efforts in making a major bid to rebuild the nation and said raising $6.7 billion was a challenging task. “As the oldest and closest friend, India is ready to stand with Nepal,” she said. “We can do so more meaningfully in areas where our expertise and Nepal’s need match. These include agriculture, housing, roads and transport, electricity, health, education, cultural heritage, and disaster risk reduction.”
India’s rarely seen foreign minister said, Sushma Swaraj announced the government of India’s pledge for Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction of “Nepali Rupees 10,000 crore, equivalent to $1 billion, one-fourth of it as grant”.
“This pledge is over and above our existing bilateral developmental assistance of another $1 billion over the next five years, 40 percent of which would be grant. This takes our total assistance to Nepal over the next five years to $2 billion.”
Other foreign delegates too pledged their support to Nepal’s reconstruction.
Over 300 delegates from 60 nations participated in the conference, the Himalayan Times reported.
The conference, organised by the Nepal government in order to raise funds to reconstruct the devastated infrastructure, was inaugurated by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said China will provide three billion renminbi (about $483 million) grant to Nepal by 2018.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende pledged an aid of 200 million Norwegian krone (about $25 million) and said the funding will increase later, while US Ambassador to Nepal Peter W. Bodde announced a support of $130 million.
Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao said it has committed to provide $600 million.
European Union (EU) development commissioner Neven Mimica pledged to provide 100 million euros (about $111 million) grant and technical assistance worth 500 million euros ($560 million).
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim sent video messages to the conference.
Ban and Jim pledged their substantial support to Nepal reconstruction drive.
The World Bank will provide $200 million for building houses in rural areas and additional $100 million for recovery in the financial sector.