India cements global crisis manager stock with quick response in Türkiye

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 9: India and Türkiye are linked with history and culture. Indian rural landscape is also well versed with Türkiye. India’s national language Hindi has several words common with Türkiye language. But that was not the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking his principal aide PK Mishra to summon a crisis meeting after the news broke of the massive earthquake in Türkiye.

India in the last few years has been among the first movers to respond to crisis. Modi wants India to be the first country to respond to a crisis or disaster in any parts of the world. This weighed on the meeting called by Mishra to summon all resources to send the rescue and rlief missions to Türkiye. In 72-hour, India has already sent six flights as part of ‘Operation Dost’ to the regions in Türkiye which are devastated by a series of massive earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks. The highly sensitive and geologically fragile regions in Türkiye and Syria have been devastated, with cities flattened.

The strategic commentators have rushed to recall the strained relations between Indian and Türkiye after the Indian Parliament passed a Constitution amendment bill to remove most of the special provisions of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir. Türkiye had taken an adversarial stand, which toed the line of Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir. Several diplomats are commenting that Pakistan had sought to draw Türkiye in the imploding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with aims to encircle India. But before Pakistan could pursue the idea more vigorously, both Islamabad and Beijing got embroiled in challenges within their countries which posed immediate risks to their respective ruling regimes.

Türkiye of late is seen spurning Pakistan, as Islamabad sought to press for financial assistance. Türkiye also is battling the economic downturn, with high inflation. Not only Türkiye, the whole of Europe is facing the brunt of the runaway inflation, which has taken most of the countries into recession. The economic crisis is immediately attributed to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, but largely is accounted for by the aftereffects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian strategic thinking on the global fora leans heavily on the maxim that there is neither permanent friend nor permanent enemy. India would be keen to count Türkiye among friendly countries. Modi counts on the friendships of the UAE and Saudi Arabia as big achievements of the foreign policy. This explains India staying ahead of the curve to respond to the humanitarian tragedy in Türkiye and also in Syria.

The Indian National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) has riche experiences of carrying out rescue and relief works in several countries. India had carried out rescue and relief works in Nepal after powerful earthquakes 2015 left deathly trails. Thus, India was ready to put in place field hospitals in Türkiye to treat the injured people, which included several children. Over 19,300 people have lost lives in Türkiye and Syria following massive earthquakes which set in on Monday morning while the people were asleep.

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