India transports 1,000 tonnes of fresh water to Maldives

India transports 1,000 tonnes of fresh water to Maldives

An Indian Navy vessel and an Air Force aircraft carrying nearly 1,000 tonnes of fresh water reached here today as India mounted a major effort to help the Maldivian capital that is reeling from an acute shortage of drinking water after its lone desalination plant caught fire.

INS Deepak, a large fleet tanker with 900 tonnes of water, which sailed from Mumbai, reached here this evening. Responding to Maldives' urgent request for assistance late on December 4 night, INS Sukanya, on patrol off Kochi, was diverted immediately and had reached Male the next day.

The ship carried 35 tonnes of fresh water and has the capability to produce 20 tonnes of water every day. The ship has already transferred approximately 65 tonnes of fresh water till this evening.

Additionally, Indian Navy warships have the capability to produce drinking water using their onboard desalination plants (INS Deepak is capable of producing 100 tonnes of water every day).

The Indian Navy ships will continue to produce and supply potable water to Male even whilst at anchor. The responsiveness, unique capabilities, flexibility and versatility of warships in meeting various contingencies has yet again been demonstrated, a statement by the Navy said.

The Indian Air Force had also stepped in and has pressed fixed wing aircraft into service to meet the immediate requirement of the people in Male.

Five aircraft including two C-17 Globemaster-III and three IL-76 with 153 tones on December 5 and three aircraft including two C-17 and one IL-76 with 130 tones yesterday were pressed into service.

One C-17 aircraft with 40 tones and another aircraft with about 40 tones have also reached Male today. This is not the first time that the Indian military has come to the aid of the Maldives.

The first instance was in 1988 when mercenaries attempted a coup against the elected government.INS Godavari and INS Betwa responded to Maldives' request and rescued abducted people from the fleeing mercenaries. This earned the lasting goodwill of the Maldivian government and its people.

Indian Navy was also the first to respond after the Maldives was struck by the devastating tsunami in December, 2004.

Indian Navy ships Mysore, Aditya and Udaygiri, along with their integral helicopters undertook prolonged and extensive operations to provide immediate succor to many islands in the island nation.

In these efforts, the Indian Navy established a Maritime Coordination Centre at Male for coordinating relief activities and assisted in distribution of relief supplies, restoration of power and provision of safe drinking-water.

Medical aid was provided in the form of mobile medical camps and serious cases were evacuated by ship's helicopters to Male.In addition to responding to crises, the Indian Navy is actively cooperating with Maldives in meeting their maritime security requirements.

These endeavours span provision of warships, training, assistance in surveillance of their maritime domain, medical cover, Search and Rescue operations, as well as exchange of white shipping information.
The Indian Navy has been at the forefront in supporting Maldives whether in disaster relief, responding to various contingencies or in meeting their maritime security needs.
This sustained engagement has positioned India and the Indian Navy as "the first port of call" and a "dependable partner" to close maritime neighbour Maldives, the navy said.

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