If you ever visited the United Arab Emirates you will discover that this federation of seven small Arab states has been built on the back of Malayalis. Indian citizens from Kerala once built the fancy cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but more importantly today they provide the brains behind the flourishing aviation and tourism economies. The offer of the UAE to provide Rs 700 crore in assistance to residents of Kerala was not one only of generosity but also one made in that country’s self-interest. And it is extremely petty for India to not accept it.
There might be rules in place to not accept help, and those rules are about national pride and whatnot, but when there has been an unprecedented natural calamity India should be willing to accept help from anywhere and everywhere. Whether it is aid in cash or kind, immediate or for long-term reconstruction. We are a part of the community of nations and we always go out of our way to help other countries in their hours of need; we even sent a plane full of relief supplies to the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While the Kerala Finance Minister has callously decided to politicize the issue, the fact is that this is an incredibly unthinking decision by the Centre. Accepting help will not make India any weaker.