NEW DELHI: India handed over relief material and stores to the authorities of Madagascar on Saturday. As the first respondent, Indian Navy Ship Airavat, which was en-route to Seychelles was diverted to Madagascar for rendering assistance after the island nation was lashed with cyclone causing heavy flooding and landslides leading to massive loss of life and property. The operation was launched on Tuesday and was codenamed as Operation Vanilla.
Navy in its official release said, “As part of Operation Vanilla and on behalf of the Government of India, Abhay Kumar, Ambassador of India to Madagascar and Commander Sunil Sankar, Commanding Officer INS Airavat handed over urgently needed relief material comprising disaster relief stores, tents, blankets, clothing, food and medicines on 01 February 2020 to local government authorities in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Republic of Madagascar, His Excellency Christian Lois Ntsay.”
The Medical Team from the ship is holding a medical camp at Antsiranana from 01 to 02 February 2020 in coordination with local authorities, said Navy. Indian Navy was the first international respondent to this evolving humanitarian crisis in Madagascar.
INS Airavat reached port city Antsiranana, Madagascar on January 30 and immediately began to provide medical aid as required by local authorities and IN the medical team were moved to the affected areas.
INS Airavat is an amphibious assault ship and as part of the mission-based deployment has Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) as part of its missions and carries relief material in the form of HADR bricks. This enables ships on deployment to respond rapidly to any emergent situation. The ship personnel will also provide diving and communication assistance and undertake transportation and evacuation of personnel using its four large and two medium-sized boats.'
India’s assistance to Madagascar is in consonance with Indian Navy’s Foreign Cooperation initiatives in line with India’s vision of 'Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)'.
There are about 15,000 persons of India origin in Madagascar, including approximately 2500 Indian passport holders.
In March 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind became the first Indian President to visit Madagascar. India and Madagascar signed a defence cooperation agreement during the visit of the Indian President.
Madagascar is also a member of inter-governmental organisation Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
Indian Navy has emerged as the first responder to the crisis situations around Indian Ocean Region.