Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Operation Dost initiated to support Turkey as it was struck by a massive earthquake on February 6 stands for India’s commitment to humanity and its resolve to be with countries that are faced with the humanitarian crisis.
He said this while interacting with the members of the NDRF, the Indian Army, and the IAF teams that have returned from Turkey after helping the Turkish authorities in carrying out massive relief and rescue operations in the earthquake-devastated country.
The Commander of the 60 para unit said “while the people saw the Turkish people clapping at the airport for us they haven’t seen the people crying and being overwhelmed with emotions as Industanis were leaving.”
Sharing their experiences, the commander of the 60 Para hospital unit that set up a medical facility at Iskenderian said one of the attendants of a patient held his hands and kissed them as a sign of gratitude.
The commanding officer Lt. Col. Yaduvir Singh said he also bowed in reciprocation.
At this stage, the attendant asked him if he understood the meaning of his gesture.
“While I told him that it was his way of saying thank you he said it meant that he was treating me as his father.’
The young man told the commander, “I belong to the younger generation and I assure you that all the upcoming generations will remember what your country did for us.”
Major Beena Yadav whose picture of being hugged by a Turkish woman in the initial days of the hospital being set up at I Iskenderian being hugged by a woman had gone viral on social media said one of the local women told her, “For me, the first is Allah and second are you.”
Prime Minister asked about how the rescue dogs acclimatized in the cold weather.
The NDRF official said that both the dogs Julie and Romeo did well in adjusting to the cold and remained in good health.
PM Narendra Modi with some of the NDRF rescuers
He said that first Julie was let go to the rubble of a fallen building and it gave the signal that a live person was under the debris. Then we send Romeo and it confirmed Julie’s findings.”
This led to the rescue of two small children - one after 80 hours and the other after 104 hours - remaining buried under the debris
Major Yadav said spoke about a woman who was rescued after remaining 72 hours under the debris and brought to the hospital on a stretcher. She said when the woman had recovered and walked back to her home she had tears in her eyes. She told me that “For me, you are equivalent to God.”
Modi said wherever the tiranga (National flag) reaches it brings assurances to the people and generates goodwill for India.
All the officers and men who participated in Operation Dost at Prime Minister's residence
An officer said that wherever the Globemaster reaches it brings an assurance that the people will be helped and also improves the image of India.
Our civilization has taught us the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam that means doesn’t matter which country needs us, humanity is uppermost sensitive to human needs
When Modi asked if there was cooperation among different rescue teams on the ground an officer said that at one place when the NDRF was trying to enter the rubble by making smaller holes to save lives, the Turkish team had come with heavy machinery.
However, the Turkish opted for the Indian rescue technique and decided to leave the site to the Indians, he said.
Modi spoke with an NDRF woman official who had left her younger twins at home. When she told Modi that she was yet to meet them, he said her sense of responsibility has set new standards of work ethics.
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He also joked with me that many of them must have quickly made their passports as it could be their first trip abroad.