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Rediff.com  » News » India joins world in pledging $5.4 bn for quake relief

India joins world in pledging $5.4 bn for quake relief

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November 19, 2005 21:51 IST

As India joined international donors in pledging $5.4 billion for relief and reconstruction efforts for earthquake victims, President Pervez Musharraf Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the "opportunity of lifetime" offered by the temblor to resolve "together" the Kashmir issue "once for all", saying this could be New Delhi's "donation to Kashmir".

Facing cross-border terrorism and infiltration, India responded by stating that it was prepared to resolve Jammu and Kashmir and other issues through dialogue with Pakistan, but made it clear that this can be done only in an "atmosphere
free of terrorism and violence".

Observing that the earthquake has created a unique feeling of togetherness on both sides of the Line of Control, Musharraf said while addressing the International Donors' meet in Islamabad that the challenge "can be converted into an opportunity of lifetime, which was never available to India and Pakistan to improve relations".

The conference, attended by over 60 countries and international financial organisations, pledged over $5.4 billion for relief and reconstruction works, surpassing the amount of $5.2 billion sought by the government. India affirmed its pledge of $25 million, which was made at last month's donor's conference in Geneva.

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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