There has been widespread appreciation of India’s prompt relief measures to Nepal devastated by the deadly earthquake on April 25. While aid has poured in from across the world, India’s effort stands out and can be best encapsulated in the words of the Nepali Ambassador designate to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, “India has been prompt in relief and rescue operations in natural calamity-hit Nepal since day one and has been playing the role of a big brother.”
The pace and alacrity with which India rushed support surely makes it absolutely praiseworthy. Aid from India was among the first to reach the Nepali soil within hours after the ghastly quake almost levelled parts of the Himalayan kingdom. Going right into the heart of the earthquake’s epicentre, the Indian Air Force personnel conducted innumerable sorties to rescue the affected.
Apart from the immediate relief and rescue operation with the aid of field hospitals and mobile hospitals in many areas, India has rightfully chanelised its resources towards long-term restoration work like construction of roads and rebuilding road connectivity. Engineers and teams of senior executives from state run Oil companies have been rushed to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply and prompt work in the restoration of power links. Indian Oil supplies over a million tonne of mixed fuel comprising of cooking gas, kerosene and also petrol and diesel in a unique Government to Government dispension pact between the two countries.
Perhaps the unprecedented pace and magnitude of assistance from India is not completely a surprise given the fact that friendly relation with neighbours’ continue to be the pivot of Modi Government’s foreign policy. With both China and India vying for increased influence on their neighbouring countries, India’s prompt assistance and large scale of operation is also part of the bigger strategy to consolidate its position in the region.
Nepal’s ties with India are deep and have continued over a very long time. As the Modi Govt continues with its massive relief operations, large scale aid line-up and constructive restoration of key connectivity and supply chains, it is quite obvious that ‘Nepal holds an extremely important place in India’s foreign policy roadmap’ and every effort will be made to overshadow the growing Chinese influence in the landlocked Himalayan nation grappling with its extreme loss and massive scale of devastation.”