Relief ops streamlined, says Indian envoy

Relief ops streamlined, says Indian envoy

Relief ops streamlined, says Indian envoy

As distribution of relief material picks up pace in the quake-hit Nepal, India’s Ambassador Ranjit Rae gives an update on the relief efforts carried out by India.

Deccan Herald’s Sagar Kulkarni caught up with Rae at the Swayambhunath Temple, a 5th century Buddhist shrine situated on a hillock on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Rae had accompanied trucks carrying relief material given by the Indian government for distribution in the region. Excerpts:

How are the relief operations progressing?

We are all here to help Nepal. There is an outpour of support to Nepal. Every state government has extended support in this time of crises. We have already received 2,500 tonnes of relief material which is being distributed as per the guidance of the Nepalese authorities.

What prompted the visit by the National Security Adviser and the Foreign Secretary right in the middle of the search and rescue operations?

The prime minister sent the high-level delegation as a mark of solidarity with Nepal. Prayer meetings were also held in India to express solidarity with Nepal. Also, the NSA and Foreign Secretary made a on-the-spot assessment of the damage caused by the temblor and the rescue and relief mission launched by India.

The NSA, during his media interaction, referred to giving access to border areas. Did Indian relief workers face a problem in reaching out to these areas?

There were some issues in handling of relief materials. But after the meeting, the procedures have been streamlined. We have been able to send relief materials to remote places under the guidance of Nepalese authorities.

Are any ministerial visits in the offing?

Right now, we are completely focused on relief operations. A ministerial visit may divert our focus as well as resources. Our top leadership is in constant touch with their counterparts in Nepal. Our prime minister has spoken to his Nepalese counterpart (Sushil Koirala). Our home minister is in contact with the Nepalese Home Minister.

The Army Chiefs of the two countries are in touch. The Nepal government is in regular contact with me. We are working closely with the Nepalese authorities and coordinating with them at every step in relief operations.

On a different issue, has the Nepal government expressed its dismay at the reporting in a section of  Indian media of the disaster?

No, the Nepal government has not said anything to us. We are extending every possible help to Nepal. There was a strong reaction in the social media on the topic you have referred to. There was nothing at the government level. There was a feeling here that the focus (of a section of Indian media) was only on evacuation of Indians and not on the disaster that had struck Nepal.

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