India on Monday sent condolences and tonnes of relief material to quake-hit Indonesia to join international efforts to provide succour there, with an assurance that it was ready to provide further aid. At least 36 tonnes of relief was sent on Monday and another 130 tonnes would be despatched on Tuesday.
President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent separate messages of condolence to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over the tragic death and destruction caused by Saturday's devastating quake, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said in New Delhi.
The first of the IL-76 aircraft took off from New Delhi on Monday with about 30 tonnes of relief material including medical supplies, tents, waterproof tarpaulins, jerry cans and other essential items, Indian Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani said. About 30 tonnes of relief material, including tents, blankets, medicines, milk powder, rice, sugar and tea, was airlifted by an IL-76 military transport plane to Indonesia. Indian naval ship INS Rajput has also been despatched with six tonnes of relief, mainly medicines and medical teams, and will reach Jakarta port on Tuesday.
"India remains ready to give any further assistance that may be required," Sarna said.
Another IL-76 has been kept in readiness for flight to Indonesia on Tuesday, IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani said. INS Rajput was diverted to Jakarta from South China sea where it was sailing as part of task force, a Naval spokesman said, adding the warship is carrying two medical teams besides medical and relief materials. Naval warship INS Tabar was being loaded with relief materials at Chennai and would set sail for Indonesia tomorrow.
"We are ready to send hospital ships and medical teams to help in quake relief", a Defence Ministry spokesman said adding relief supplies were being worked out with Indonesian Government. The three services swung into action soon after getting directive from Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee currently on a visit to China.
Mukherjee, while in Japan, had sent a message of condolence to his Indonesian counterpart on the loss of life in the earthquake. Earlier, during the Tsunami tragedy in late 2004, India had despatched three warships including a 46-bed hospital ship to help treat the survivors.
Two other ships had carried out relief work in coastal Banda Aceh area.