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India Doubts EU's Aid Offer to Manipur After Last Year’s 'Interference'

© Twitter/@AmitShahAmit Shah holds meeting in Imphal, Manipur
Amit Shah holds meeting in Imphal, Manipur
 - Sputnik India, 1920, 31.05.2024
The European Union announced on 29 May an aid package in response to a devastating hailstorm in Indian state of Manipur earlier this month. However, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday that New Delhi wasn't "aware" of any such offer.
There are lingering concerns in the Indian establishment about the European Union's (EU) stance on Manipur, which has been demonstrated by India's refusal to even acknowledge, let alone accept, an aid offer from Brussels after the extreme weather event, an Indian think-tanker has told Sputnik India.

"Perhaps, the government is viewing the EU aid offer from the lens of position that the EU had taken on the ethnic tensions in Manipur last year. In that context, India probably might have been trying to send a signal to the EU," stated Dr K Yhome, a Senior Fellow at Asian Confluence, a Shillong-based think tank.

Yhome noted that India i has been "quite sensitive" towards unwarranted comments on its internal affairs from foreign powers.
Last July, India had strong condemned an European Parliament resolution which called upon Indian authorities to halt the ethnic violence in the state and take measures to "protect all religious minorities".
Titled 'India, the situation in Manipur', the EU resolution asked India to allow "independent investigations" into the Manipur violence and reiterated the call to "integrate" human rights into all spheres of India-EU ties.
At the time, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that "such interference in India's internal affairs is unacceptable, and reflects a colonial mindset".

"The European parliament would be well advised to utilise its time more productively on its internal issues," Bagchi had claimed.

Concerns Around EU Aid Offer

Just hours after the EU made its aid offer public on 29 May due to Manipur hit by a hailstorm and heavy rain, a reported statement from the state's Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi described reports about EU's offer as "totally false and untrue".
The statement said that all financial requirements in connection with the storm were being met through the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

"No NGO or civil society organisation have been entrusted to carry out the relief work," the statement clarified.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised in sections of Indian media about the credibility EU's humanitarian partner Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) India, which Brussels nominated to distribute its aid.

There was "evidence" that US-headquartered ADRA, run by Seventh Day Adventist Church, was involved in converting" vulnerable people to Christianity" through its activities, An article on OpIndia platform claimed.

Yet, forceful conversions from one religion to another are increasingly being challenged in India, particularly by the ruling establishment.
Since 2020, several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, having passed laws to ban "unlawful conversions".

"Charity was no longer confined to purely humanitarian aspects," Binay Kumar Singh, a strategic affairs expert at New Delhi-based think tanks the Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (SPMRF), told Sputnik India, commenting on these allegations against ADRA.

"Charity from foreign sources, which may or may not have vested interests, comes with an agenda. Charity has become a business nowadays," noted Singh, who's also a BJP state spokesperson.
Singh also highlighted that it was entirely the prerogative of India whether to accept the aid offer or reject it.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hand with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina ahead of the G20 Leaders' Summit at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.05.2024
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