India's High Commissioner to Maldives Rajeev Shahare on Saturday said that the island nation was deeply appreciative about prompt efforts made by New Delhi to address its water crisis adding that its social media described India as a true friend.
"I must say that the people of Maldives have deeply appreciated India's assistance; the social media is agog with comments that India is a true friend, India has risen to the occasion as it has done in the past and helped Maldives in the time of crisis," Shahare told ANI here.
Pointing out the appreciation received from the Maldivian Vice President during a conversation over phone with him on India's role in taming its water crisis, Shahare said, "The honourable vice president here personally called me today and expressed his deep appreciation, conveyed his thanks to the honourable Prime Minister, the honourable External Affairs Minister, to the people of India to the leadership of India, for this very quick prompt action that has been taken."
"Our water which is now also being distributed in Male has made a tremendous difference in addressing the water crisis," he added.
Talking about Indian leadership's efforts in reaching out to its neighbor and the amount of water that has been sent to Maldives since New Delhi started to assist the island nation, Shahare further said, "Honourable External Affairs Minister consulted the Prime Minister and both decided that immediate relief materials should be sent to Maldives given our very close very deep fraternal ties with that country. Within a span of 12 to 14 hours the first aircraft IL-76 landed at the Male airport. The first consignment was received by the head of the task force, the defence minister of Maldives and two other ministers who were also present here."
Elaborating about the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy's role, India's High Commissioner to Maldives said, "Indian Air Force (IAF) has made five sorties and close to 155 tonnes of water has been received at the airport. Meanwhile, an Indian Naval Ship ((INS) Sukanya which was around Colombo was diverted, which arrived at the Male (port) at around 8 pm, it was carrying around 50 tonnes of filtered water.... "
"It is now at the high seas and again producing water through the river osmosis plants that it is carrying on board and it will continue to provide fresh water to Male. We will be getting another very large ship which has already set sail from Mumbai it is INS Deepak-a tanker which is carrying 800 tonnes of fresh water it will be arriving tomorrow at around 3 pm. Importantly it also has a capacity to filter 200 tonnes of water everyday so this is a facility which will certainly alleviate the water crisis and provide relief to Male," he added.
Narrating about the incident how it all started and following which the Maldivian leadership sought for Indian help, Shahare said, "On December 4 in the late afternoon evening a fire broke out in the de-salination plant of Male, which resulted into burning out of seven very sophisticated panels out of the nine, which controls the complete de-salination process, as well as the pumping of water to various households."
"The extent of the damage was not known, but when the authorities realized that it was extremely serious and would impact on the flow of water, the foreign minister of Maldives, immediately got in touch with the honourable External Affairs Minister and sought India's assistance. Meanwhile, the defence minister of Maldives also contacted me and requested for help and assistance and he conveyed to me that Maldives had declared it as a national crisis," he added.