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India flies in aid to PoK quake victims
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October 12, 2005 19:51 IST

India on Wednesday joined the international aid efforts for earthquake victims in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by flying a plane-load of relief material and said it was ready to dispatch more consignment at short notice.

An Indian cargo plane carrying the first consignment of 25 tonnes of relief supplies landed in Islamabad in the wee hours of today, becoming the first Indian relief aircraft to land here since the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

IAF's Ilyushin-76 aircraft, loaded with 15,000 blankets, 50 tents, plastic sheets, mattresses, food items and a variety
of medicines and medical supplies landed at the airport in Islamabad at 2:45 AM, Indian embassy sources said in Islamabad.

Indian High Commissioner to the country Shiv Shankar Menon and senior Indian diplomats formally received the relief supplies and handed it over to Pakistani officials.

As the plane returned to New Delhi, Indian Air Force officials said they were ready to dispatch another supply of relief material to Pakistan.

Assistant Chief of Air Staff Air Vice Marshal S C Mukul said, "we have been asked by the government to be ready to fly out another consignment."

Air Marshal Mukul said IAF was making efforts to airlift the body of a resident of Jammu who died in Muzaffarabad in
Saturday's quake and his two injured family members. The three had gone to PoK by Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus to visit a relative.

The IAF aircraft initially took off for Islamabad from New Delhi at 11:45 PM last night, but could not land in the Pakistani capital as there was no parking space at the airport. It went back and returned early Wednesday, sources said.

Aid has poured in from across the world following Saturday's massive earthquake, which killed tens of thousands of people in the North West Frontier Province and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Struggling to deal with the devastating earthquake, President Pervez Musharraf [Images] had sought international help in terms of medicines, blankets, tents and helicopters to cope with the "biggest tragedy" of its history.

Expressing distress at the extensive loss of life and property in Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] had offered rescue and relief assistance to deal with the crises.

India had also offered to help in badly-affected places along the Line of Control on the Pakistani side, which are easier to access from Jammu and Kashmir [Images].

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