Operation Dost ends with Indian rescuers and lifesavers winning hearts and minds of Turkish people

Story by  Aasha Khosa | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 20-02-2023
Indian Army Officer signing a T-shirt of the local at Iskenderun, Turkey
Indian Army Officer signing a T-shirt of the local at Iskenderun, Turkey


Aasha Khosa/New Delhi

Saying goodbyes is always tough and that is what the residents of Iskenderun, a port town in Turkey, felt as the Indian Army medical team closed its field hospital where the locals had found live savers and 'Industani' angels who were now heading home after 12 days.

The locals expressed their gratitude to the Indians by shaking hands with them, clapping for them, and hugging the doctors and paramedics in olive green as India wound up Operation Dost aimed at providing relief and rescue to the quake-affected Turkish people.

Emotional scenes were witnessed at the times the officers and the staff of the 56 Para Field hospital units left the place.

Indian Army posted the images and videos of the Field hospital Staff being accorded a warm and emotional farewell at Iskenderun by the locals on Twitter:

 Earlier, the members of the men and women of the NDRF headed home after joining a massive rescue operation with their two dogs and received an emotional farewell at the Adana airport from the Airport staff.

The NDRF and Army Medical team had landed in Turkey within 24 hours of the earthquake striking the country and being of help to the authorities grappling with tremendous loss of lives and property.

As the Indian Army team is homebound at the time of writing, through their work, India has ended up winning the hearts and minds of the people of the country where the government of T C Ergodan had launched a campaign against India.

Sections of society like the media that fanned systematic hate against India have ended up praising its efforts of rushing to help Turkey,

Media like the Anadolu Agency reported extensively on the Indian hospital in Iskenderun and interviewed its doctors and locals helping the staff.

Anadolu report in its report Over 2,400 quake victims treated at Indian field hospital in Türkiye's Hatay wrote:

"In Iskenderun, one of the districts hit by the earthquake, the people seem very satisfied with the support provided by the Indian medical team.

"Some of those who were treated at the hospital hugged Indian officials and some took a souvenir photos.

"We get a lot of help from the Turkish people and government"

Even the TRT –Turkish Radio and Television – gave detailed stories of the Indian field hospital and the NDRF’s efforts of helping the Turks.

It may be recalled that both these organizations had been running an anti-India campaign, allegedly at the behest of Pakistan, on Kashmir.

These agencies have a special focus on Kashmir and run a section on it. Several journalists from Pakistan and Kashmir, are working in these organizations to pep up the anti-India reportage.

The Indians who spoke with the Turkish news media praised the Turkish people as being large-hearted and cooperative.

An NDRF lady official Santosh Yadav told the media that she was overwhelmed to get a local SIM from people when they came to know that she had left her twins with her parents and needed to know about them.

Another NDRF officer said a local whose son’s body was specially extricated by the Indian team so that he could do his proper burial returned after a few days with vegetarian food for him.

In New Delhi, the Turkish Ambassador Firat Sunel who is active in raising funds for massive rehabilitation work back home and relief materials has expressed his gratitude to the Indians several times. Showing the video footage of packed relief materials donated by the Indians, the ambassador wrote on Twitter:

 On his appeals, the Indians have been donating money and required things for the Turkish people.

Recently the Forum for Indian Food Importers (FIFI) met the ambassador to offer a donation. The association also offered a complimentary 50,000 sq ft warehousing facility in Haryana to stock the goods received for relief efforts until they are shipped out of the country.

The Ambassador called the students of a Ghaziabad school as "children of golden heart" and accepted their 56 meter long card with messages of hope to the Turkish children who are suffering due to the massive earthquake on Twitter:

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