India wants all credit for tsunami relief operations
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: India, which had refused international aid for its tsunami victims, has been helping its neighbours with relief work in an attempt to project an image of a regional superpower.
The Indian government had even refused an aid offer from China which offered a $3 million aid package for tsunami victims in India. It has now joined in relief operations being carried out by the United States, Australia and Japan. Diplomats said the motive behind this move is India’s urge to be recognised as a major power in the Indian Ocean along with these countries. The Indian navy has launched four rescue and relief operations — The Operation Seawave (along the Andamans cost), Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka, Operation Castor in the Maldives and the Operation Gambhir in Indonesia..
Army sources said that India was using Israeli-built Searcher Mark II drones to assess the damage from the mishap.
In the Andamans islands, where a unified tri-service command was headquartered, India has decided to set up an integrated relief command under Vice-Admiral Raman Puri, the chief of the integrated defence staff.
India is also uncomfortable with the proposed visit of a high-level team from Washington to the affected areas.