India rebuffs Pakistani PM’s offer to help

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered to share the country’s cash transfer programme with India after he read a report in The Express Tribune that claimed that 84% of Indian households suffered a decline in monthly income following the nationwide lockdown imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

In a tweet, Pakistan’s PM, stated, “According to this report, 34% of households across India will not be able to survive for more than a week without additional assistance,” and added, “I am ready to offer help & share our successful cash transfer programme, lauded internationally for its reach & transparency, with India.”

In a sharp reply, India reminded its neighbour that the “size of the economic relief package extended by New Delhi to its citizens during the pandemic is as large as Pakistan’s GDP”. An official statement from the ministry of external affairs on Thursday reminded Islamabad that Pakistan had a “debt problem covering 90% of the country’s GDP”. “Pakistan would do well to recall that they have a debt problem which covers 90% of their GDP. As far as India goes, our stimulus package is as large as the GDP of Pakistan,” said Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry.

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