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Ambassador thanks China for offers of help
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-05 01:02

Indian Ambassador to China says he and his country welcome the sympathy and concern of the Chinese people.

"It is the matter of wanting to help, wanting to contribute," said Nalin Surie. "For us, that is the most important thing."

He said the thoughts and support gave them strength in their efforts to overcome and address the fall out from the tragedy.

"We are confident that we can manage the aftermath from within our own resources," he said.

He said if India felt at some point that they needed anything that was not available in India, relief from China would certainly be considered.

Surie said the massive relief and rescue operation mounted by the Indian Government was now focusing on restoring the communications network, power and water supplies as well as trying to prevent disease epidemics.

The ambassador said the latest figure showed that 9,675 people were killed by the tsunami and 6,010 were still unaccounted for in the Nicobar group of islands.

The Indian Government is now sending out navy boats to reach each island to look for survivors and offer emergency aid.

But the ambassador said India was coping with the catastrophe and that aid should be directed to other countries who needed it more. India has also taken concrete steps to help other countries in the region in its own time of crisis. "We think this is our duty because they are our neighbours and friends," said Surie.

India has been helping Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives, sending helicopters and ships to reach difficult areas and deliver aid.

The ambassador said the Indian people were making huge contributions in terms of cash, clothes and other facilities.

The Indian community in China, including embassy workers in Beijing, has also expressed its wishes to make donations, he said.

All the money has been sent to the Prime Minister Relief Fund, he said.

There are more than 2,000 Indians now living in China, most of whom are involved in business. Fewer than 300 are students.

The embassy has received many letters and faxes from Chinese organizations and individuals expressing their sympathy and support, which the ambassador said were appreciated by all. "This is a reflection of the growing trust and understanding between our two countries," he said.

Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan expressed his condolences over the heavy loss of life and property in India.

He said the Chinese Government, its people and army were closely following the situation in India and were thinking of the people who were suffering.

He offered US$277,100 from ordinary army officers and soldiers for rescue and rehabilitation work.

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