updated 10/17/2005 11:17:38 AM ET 2005-10-17T15:17:38

Pakistan said Monday that it was willing to accept an offer from rival India to send helicopters for earthquake relief operations, but without Indian pilots.

"Given the obvious sensitivities, we could not accept involvement of Indian military on our side for relief operations," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the divided Himalayan territory of Kashmir. South Asia's earthquake on Oct. 8 destroyed villages and towns across the region, mostly in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir. Tens of thousands died.

Pakistan needs helicopters to ferry supplies to quake-hit areas, many of which have been cut off by road. India has provided some aid to its neighbor, and the Foreign Ministry said it was grateful for the assistance.

"In order to meet the acute shortage of winterized tents, Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi had been asked to arrange procurement of this item from India on an urgent basis," the ministry said.

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