Indian Armed Forces Rescue Operations

The Indian Armed Forces, the third largest force in the world, is a source of pride for all Indians. Time and again, the Indian soldiers have proven that their bravery is indeed nonpareil. They are known not only for their valour, but also for their sensitivity to people around them, and the helping hand they extend during a time of humanitarian crisis. Be it floods, tsunami, earthquake or any other natural disaster, within India or in neighbouring countries, it is the Indian Army along with the Navy and the Air Force who are called out for help. And the brave hearts step in, fearless in the face of the natural calamities, lionhearted and intrepid, rescuing and helping people in distress.

Our Armed Forces redefine patriotism every day through their acts of bravery. Here are some of the many rescue operations that the Indian Army participated in along with the Navy and the Air Force, which will fill you with a sense of pride:

Operation Rahat, 2015

During the Yemen Crisis, in March 2015, when a civil war broke out in Yemen, nearly 5000 Indians were trapped in the country. Yemen saw a military intervention, when the Royal Saudi Air Force along with a coalition of Arab states, attacked the rebels. Yemen was no longer accessible as it was declared a no-fly zone. Operation Rahat was launched where the Indian Armed Forces were mobilised to rescue the 5000 trapped Indians in Yemen. The INS Sumitra, which was engaged in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Lakshadweep, was redeployed for Operation Rahat along with destroyers INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash for protection and support to Indian ships and aircraft in the conflict zone.

The Indian Air Force deployed cargo aircraft with a capacity of carrying 600 passengers. Over an operation that lasted 15 days, amidst severe shelling, 4640 trapped Indians along with 960 foreign nationals of more than 41 countries, which did not have operational capabilities for a rescue mission, were evacuated from Yemen.

Operation Maitri, 2015

In April, 2015, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal causing sheer havoc, destruction and death. The earthquake left over 8,000 people dead and injured more than 21,000. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the Government of India along with the Indian Armed Forces launched rescue and relief operations in Nepal and termed it as Operation Maitri. Nepali ex-servicemen of the Indian Armed Forces also joined in the operations for guidance in the difficult terrain. Indian Armed Forces were the first to reach Nepal with a helping hand. The helping hand included aircraft from the Indian Air Force and soldiers from the Indian Army for rescue mission on ground. Medical units were also pressed in for relief and engineering units were deployed to clear debris and roads. Besides transporting essential items to stranded citizens of Nepal, the army succeeded in rescuing thousands of people trapped in remote locations.

Operation Madad, 2015

The Indian Armed Forces launched Operation Madad during the 2015 Chennai floods. The city saw one of the worst rainfalls in 100 years which led to floods across the Coromandel Coast. Chennai was worst hit with the Adyar river and several lakes of the city overflowing their banks. A joint effort by Army, Navy and Air Force along with national disaster management force personnel helped in evacuating thousands stranded in the floods.

Naval ships with small boats and divers from Vishakhapatnam reached the naval air base, Rajali, 60 km away from the coast of Chennai. Operation Madad was conducted from this air base. The Army deployed more than 500 personnel for relief and rescue operations on ground. With the Chennai airport inundated, the Indian Air Force helped in evacuating people through the runway in Rajali. Relief materials were taken to remote locations by amphibious boats of the Navy for temporary respite till the people could be evacuated. Daring missions were conducted with people stranded on roof tops rescued with the help of hovering helicopters.

Mission Sahayata & Operation Megh Rahat, 2014

Jammu & Kashmir faced one of the worst natural calamities in the form of floods in 2014. While hundreds were killed in the floods, many more were rendered homeless. The Indian Armed Forces were deployed in the state for search, rescue, relief, relocation, and humanitarian assistance. The Indian Army, Air Force, and the Navy, committed large resources towards this operation: over 30,000 troops, 15 engineer task forces, 84 IAF and Army Aviation Corps aircraft and helicopters, naval commandos and rescue specialists, Base Hospital, four field hospitals and over 106 medical detachments. While many were rescued from roof tops, the commandos had to break through roofs of buildings to gain access to people trapped inside houses. The floods also ravaged the roads and communication system which the Indian Army with the help of the engineering units helped in restoring. Relief camps were established by the Army to provide food and shelter, along with medical assistance, to the people who had been rescued.

Operation Surya Hope, 2013

The operation conducted by the Indian Armed Forces in the 2013 Uttarakhand flood was named Operation Surya Hope. Termed as the Himalayan Tsunami by the Government of India, this was the worst natural disaster faced by Uttarakhand in a hundred years. The Indian Army deployed 8500 brave men in the operation, including the ASC for supply, signals regiment, engineer regiments, medical units, mountain troops and paratroopers. The Army Aviation deployed 13 helicopters for the rescue mission. Along with the Indian Air Force 83 aircraft were involved in rescue, relief and search operations. Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said “Our helicopter rotors will not stop churning till such time we get each one of you out. Do not lose hope, and hang in there”

The Indian Navy deployed its MARCOS in Rudraprayag and Rishikesh. In the operation ,we lost brave hearts from IAF, ITBP, and NDRF, when an aircraft in the middle of a rescue mission crashed due to poor visibility. Braving the most difficult terrain, facing the most severe and hazardous conditions, the Indian Armed Forces reached the most remote locations in Uttarakhand where people were trapped and rescued them, and successfully completed Operation Surya Hope.

Kashmir Earthquake, 2005

On 8 October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale struck near Muzzafarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. Thousands were killed in the earthquake, whereas many were injured and nearly 2.8 lakh people were displaced. The Indian Armed Forces stepped in for rescue and relief operations, braving the difficult terrain as well as facing adverse weather conditions. Border check posts were opened to carry tonnes of relief materials, blankets and food supplies from the Indian Army.

Conclusion

The role of the Indian Armed Forces is not confined to keeping a vigil on the highest battle ground of the world, Siachen, and fighting cross-border terrorism, but it also extends to helping people in distress. An Indian soldier, with the commitment of “Do or Die”, is worth an infinite number of salutes from the Indian citizens. Jai Hind.

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