Every time I listen to the beautiful song, “ae mere watan ke logon…..Jo shaheed huye hai unki, zara yaad karo kurbaani” my heart fills with gratitude towards the Indian Armed Forces. There can never be words enough to describe or thank the mighty Indian Armed Forces for their selfless love & supreme sacrifice for the nation. The Indian Armed Forces consists of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard.
The armed forces play a vital role in ensuring the country’s safety, whether in times of war, to help restore law and order, in rescue operations during natural calamities or contributing in building crucial infrastructure facilities like roads and bridges in remote and war-torn areas. Hence, ensuring national security and national unity.
Let’s look at a few such instances where the Indian Armed Forces helped us get back on our feet in times of natural disasters.
1. The flooded Mahalaxmi Express in Maharashtra, July 2019
Around 1050 passengers, including 9 pregnant women were stuck on the Mahalakshmi Express for nearly 18 hours due to heavy floodwaters in the July of 2019. The train was stranded somewhere 90 KM from Mumbai.
In an extraordinary joint operation, the teams of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), the Indian Navy, Air Force, Army and the Railways rescued all the passengers travelling in the train, from Mumbai to Kolhapur. The train got stuck near Thane as the tracks got flooded due to heavy rainfall. The passengers appealed for help by uploading videos showing their tragic situation on social media platforms. Following which, a massive rescue operation involving 1200 personnel from the NDRF, Army, Navy, Air Force, Railway Police, various NGO’s and local village volunteers helped all the passengers to safety.
2. Sikkim’s heavy snowfall, December 2018
Over 2500 tourists were stuck in more than 400 vehicles near Nathula in Sikkim due to heavy snowfall.
The Indian Army rescued the tourists, who were returning after visiting the Nathula Pass along the Indo-China border and provided them with food, shelter, medical care and warm clothing. The Army jawans even gave up their barracks to provide people with accommodation. JCBs and dozers were too made available by the Army for snow clearance and restoration of road connectivity.
3. Cyclone Fani in Odisha, May 2019
The ‘extremely severe’ cyclone Fani hit the coast of Odisha in May 2019, swamping towns and villages, killing at least 12 people, blowing away thatched roofs of houses and uprooting over 10,000 electric poles.
The Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guards evacuated more than 11 lakh people from coastal areas in less than 24 hours and provided them with food packets, water and medicines. The Indian Armed Forces, along with police force and people carried out massive restoration work to bring back normalcy.
4. Sri Lanka floods, May 2017
Yes, you read it right. The Indian Armed Forces haven’t just ensured the nation’s safety but have played a vital role in rescuing the neighbouring countries during crisis as well. Heavy floods and mudslides hit Sri Lanka in May 2017, affecting over 2,00,382 people and killing over 100.
The diving and medical teams of the Indian Navy reached with emergency supplies to help Sri Lankan authorities in the rescue operation. Over 300 naval personnel participated in the operation. The divers searched the brackish waters and the medical team took care of the patients in makeshift shelters.
5. Operation Maitri in earthquake hit Nepal, April 2015
Nepal was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 Richter scale in April 2015, resulting in the death toll to rise to 8,000 while more than 21,000 were injured.
India’s response started within 15 minutes of the earthquake and it was the first country to reach Nepal with a helping hand. The full-fledged rescue and relief operation which included the Army, Air Force, NDRF, various engineers and medical teams carried 43 tonnes of relief material including food packets, dry ration, water, medicines, tents and blankets.
6. Operation Rahat in Yemen, April 2015
In 2015, operation Rahat was carried out by the Indian Armed Forces to rescue over 4,000 Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from the military intervention by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
After rescuing over 2300 citizens from the war-torn nation, 23 other countries seeked help from India to save their citizens from Yemen as well. The Indian Navy left the entire world in awe with their heroic rescue operation.
7. Kashmir Earthquake, October 2005
On October 8, 2005, an earthquake of 7.6 Richter scale struck near Muzzafarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, causing 87,000 deaths.
India sent three consignments of relief materials including medicines, blankets, and food packets.
8. Operation Sea Waves in the Indian Ocean Tsunami, December 2004
In 2004, the deadliest recorded tsunami measuring between 9.1 to 9.3 on the Richter scale hit 13 Asian and African countries taking over 2,26,000 lives and leaving more than half a million people homeless.
In India, the most severe damage had occurred on the Southern Nicobar Islands. Among the casualties were several Airforce Personnel and their families as the staff quarters for the air base were right on the river front. The Air Force staff still managed a relief and rescue operation along with the Indian Navy and Coast Guard using the remaining aircrafts while dealing with the loss of their families and friends.
9. Gujarat Earthquake, January 2001
A massive earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale shook Gujarat on 26th January 2001. Its epicenter being in the Rann of Kutch, the earthquake caused enormous destruction in Bhuj and Ahmedabad, claiming over 20,000 lives. Infrastructure too had been severely affected, resulting in 90% of the buildings to collapse, train derailments, power failure and cutting off the water supply. I will never be able to forget those nights my family and I spent in tents as it wasn’t safe to climb to our third-floor apartment.
The Indian Armed Forces again played a very crucial role in the rescue and relief operation by distribution of food supplies, medicines, tents and blankets.
No wonder why the Indian Armed Forces have held the reputation of being one of the finest in the world since long. I feel very proud and guarded knowing the Indian Armed Forces are standing between us and any national crises. I am proud of my Army. I am proud of “My India”.