INS Airavat, a large amphibious ship which was on a mission-based deployment near Seychelles has been diverted to provide relief to the cyclone hit nation.
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’, India has sent assistance to Madagascar, southern African island nation. INS Airavat, a large amphibious ship which was on a mission-based deployment near 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.
Last week the President of Madagascar used the social media seeking international mobilisation for the national disaster that had struck his country. The country has declared the situation a “national disaster”
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 home.
President Ram Nath Kovind, became the first Indian top leader to visit that country in 2018. In that visit, the two sides had inked a defence cooperation agreement.
The island nation is also a member of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Madagascar is a member.
More about INS Airavat
Built by Kolkota based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), this is Shardul-class landing ship, which large amphibious warfare vessels.
Was commissioned at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam in 2009.
Why Operation Vanilla?
The island nation belongs to a group “Vanilla Islands’’ which is important for India in the context of the Indian Ocean.
Vanilla Islands is a grouping of six island nations located in the south-west Indian Ocean. In 2010 they joined hands together to boost tourism.
The six islands are Mayotte, Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion and Madagascar are its members.
These countries export the Vanilla pods which are used in various food preparations and in ice cream.
Why is Madagascar important for India?
This small island is around 400 km off the coast of East Africa.
It is counted as one of the least developed nations globally.
It is a member of the African Union (AU) as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC).