285 personnel of the NDRF are in Nepal (photo: AP)
India has deployed the largest teams among the international relief operations in quake-ravaged Nepal, with the first aircraft sent within hours of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake. Operation Maitri (friendship) is already the largest relief effort mounted by India on foreign soil, involving more than two dozen aircraft and hundreds of personnel from the military and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
Three top military commanders, led by Major General J S Sandhu, are in Nepal to coordinate and fast-track rescue and evacuation efforts. The senior officers from the army and air force will work with NDRF chief O P Singh and Nepalese authorities.
Seven Indian search and rescue teams were at work Monday in the worst-hit areas. They rescued 10 people and recovered 40 bodies from the rubble of fallen buildings in different parts of Kathmandu.
Three Indian Army field hospitals and civilian doctors are on the ground providing immediate medical care. A Rapid Action Medical Team of the IAF is functioning at a first aid centre in Lagankhel, eight kilometres from the Kathmandu airport. Army teams will bring the injured to the centre manned by three doctors and 25 paramedics.
India has provided 10 tonnes of blankets, 50 tonnes of water and 22 tonnes of food, along with 10 Inmarsat systems for satellite communications as the Saturday quake caused widespread damage to communications and disrupted phone links.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is personally overseeing the planning and execution of the relief operations and evacuation of stranded Indians.
“For 125 crore (1.25 billion) Indians, Nepal is their very own. Its grief is our grief. India will try its best to wipe the tears, hold the hands and stand alongside every Nepali in this hour of crisis,” he said in his monthly radio broadcast on Sunday.
Spain has sought India's help in evacuating its nationals from Nepal. Visiting Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo Y Marfil called on Modi on Monday, and the prime minister assured him that India would provide all possible assistance to Spanish nationals stranded in Nepal.
Help is pouring into Nepal from across the world, with rescue workers and medical teams from at least a dozen countries helping local police and army rescuers. The US, China, Israel Japan, France, Switzerland, Singapore and even Bhutan have sent teams and material.