New Delhi: In a major milestone for Indian Navy, its naval ship INS Kesari traversed over 7500 nautical miles in over 55 days and delivered COVID-19 aid to 5 countries -Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.
Under the "Mission Sagar", the ship sailed on 10th May and returned to India on June 28th. A Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) release said the aim of the mission was to, "deliver assistance to our maritime neighbours in dealing with the COVID crisis. India’s humanitarian assistance included supplies of essential food items, medicines, Ayurvedic medicines and deployment of Medical Assistance Teams (MAT) to Mauritius and Comoros.".
The Indian naval ship received a warm welcome in the five Indian Ocean countries to which it travelled.
Its first destination was the Maldives where the consignment was formally handed over by the Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir in an online ceremony, attended by Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi.
Maldives President Ibrahim Solih in a tweet said, "during the COVID crisis, India has been a true friend to the Maldives. India's recent gift of essential food supplies is particularly helpful during these challenging times".
The 2nd destination was Mauritius where it was received by the Minister for Health of Mauritius, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal with the consignments handed over to him by Indian High Commissioner Tanmaya Lal. Pravind Jugnauth, Mauritius PM conveyed his country's gratitude to India over the phone to Prime Minister Modi and in a tweet said, "Our relationship with India will always be special as it is based on mutual trust and common values."
By end of May, the ship reached Madagascar were it was welcomed by Foreign Minister of the country Tehindrazanarivelo Liva Djacoba in the presence of Indian envoy Abhay Kumar. From Madagascar, it went to Comoros and was received by the Minister of Health, Solidarity, Social Protection and Gender Promotion of Comoros Loub Yacout Zaidu.
The President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, said in a tweet, "In the name of the Comorian people, I am very thankful to #India for the arrival of a Medical Assistance Team and medicines today in Moroni to help us fight COVID19 and Dengue." Adding, the "assistance marks the strengthening of the cooperation and the relationship"
Its last stop was Seychelles. On 07 June 2020, in a handing over ceremony organised the same day, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs & Blue Economy, Amb. Barry Faure & Secretary of State for Health, Amb. Marie Lloyd jointly received the consignment on behalf of Government of Seychelles from the High Commissioner of India Dalbir Singh Suhag.