National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 05 December 2017
Ten naval ships, including frontline ships from Western Naval Command such as INS Chennai, Kolkata and Trikand as well as four types of aircraft, including long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I, Dornier, SeaKing and Chetak continue to be deployed over an extended SAR area 250 miles west of L& M islands and 400 miles off Kerala coast.
Based on request received from local administration of Lakshadweep islands,Disaster Relief material was disembarked at Minicoy by INS Shardul, at Kavaratti by INS Chennai, at Kalpeni by INS Sharda and at Bitra by INS Trikand with assistance also provided by naval helicopter SeaKing. In addition, technical and diving teams of INS Shardul disembarked at Minicoy island to render assistance in salvage, repair and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure. A technical team, capable of undertaking electrical and mechanical repairs deployed at Bitra Island by INS Trikand has already repaired/ reconstructed four badly damaged fishing vessels. The fishing vessels are operational and fit to proceed to sea.
INS Kabra, presently involved in SAR operations off Kollam will embark local fishermen on 06 Dec 17 at Kollam Port for carrying out guided search operations, based on specific inputs provided by these fishermen. Similarly, INS Kalpeni will also embark local fishermen from Kochi in an effort to further boost the ongoing SAR efforts. Both ships will embark fishermen in the morning and disembark them in the evening on completion of the guided search.
The swift and timely action of Indian Navy has thus far saved 148 lives and provided lifesaving material assistance to 174 fishermen at sea. In addition, Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) material has been provided to all LAM islands. All efforts are being made to bring back normalcy to the L&M islands most expeditiously. Relentless efforts are on by all other ships at the disposal of Indian Navy to provide relief/ support to the last person needing it, either at sea or at the Lakshadweep islands.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.