New Delhi, Dec 6: India rushed to maritime neighbour Maldives' rescue after receiving a distress call from Male which faced a massive water crisis after its main water treatment plant was damaged in a fire.
New Delhi sent 200 tonnes of potable water by air and water ways. Five IAF heavy-lift aircraft besides naval warships were pressed into action to help the tiny island state quench its thirst.
Water bottles being loaded in C-17 Globemaster III of Indian Air Force as India sends drinking water to Maldives after water was cut off to the residents in the Maldives' capital, in New Delhi. PTI photo
Maldives conveyed its plight to foreign minister Sushma Swaraj through her Maldivian counterpart Dunya Maumoon that the capital was in a state of emergency as 1,00,000 residents were left without a drop to drinking following the fire at the treatment plant. Maldives has no natural source of water and depends on treated sea water.
Swaraj immediately took up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and New Delhi wasted no time to use the opportunity to strengthen its ties with the maritime neighbour. Foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India was the first country to stand by Maldives at its hour of need and reiterated that India would help any member of the Saarc fraternity in all possible way.
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Modi has stressed improving South Asian solidarity on all platforms, including the recent Saarc Summit held in Nepal.
The prime minister also assured Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen about India's help and expressed hope about further progress in the relation between the two neighbours.
Maldives also sought help from Sri Lanka, China and United States.
Former Maldivian presidents Mayoom Abdul Gayoom and Mohammed Naseed thanked the Indian government for aiding their country at the time of the crisis.