In line with the Prime Minister's vision of ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’, India has sent assistance to Madagascar, the southern African island nation.
INS Airavat, a large amphibious ship which was on a mission-based deployment near the Seychelles, has been diverted to provide relief to the cyclone hit nation. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), 'Madagascar which has been hit by a cyclone has heavy flooding and landslides for almost a week.'
Reportedly 92,000 people have been affected and there has been a loss of lives. In a statement, Madagascar government spokesperson Lalatiana Andriatongarivo has said 'The government is calling on national figures and international partners to help the Malagasy people with emergency aid, early recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.”
As the first respondent, a decision was taken to immediately divert INS Airavat, en route to Seychelles, to Madagascar which is reaching there shortly. Onboard the ship there are five pallets each of clothing and naval stores and there are three pallets of medicines.
Four large and two medium-sized boats will be used to evacuate personnel; the navy will also provide diving and communication assistance, and emergency food and clothing. India’s navy has earned herself a name as the First Responder. And has been providing assistance following the Cyclone IDAI hitting Mozambique or providing relief to those affected in situations closer to home.
The President, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, became the first Indian top leader to visit that country in 2018 when the two sides had inked a defence cooperation agreement. The island nation is also a member of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).