THE RAJYA Sabha’s call for an end to violence in southern Lebanon might well fall on deaf ears but India did register its presence in the war-torn country on Tuesday.
At 10 a.m., the Indian naval ship INS Betwa docked in Beirut. Part of the effort to bring some relief to ravaged lives, it was carrying 65 tonnes aid, including rice, blankets and medicines.
Captain C. Murti, the ship’s commander, said: “Our ship was initially deployed for evacuation missions.
After having helped Indian and other nationals leave, we were still in Cyprus where a lot of relief material was piling up. The Indian government was asked by its Lebanese counterpart to help and here we are.” Murti said the ship had no trouble in coming through as they had liaised with Israeli Defence Forces since leaving Cyprus on Monday night.
Nengcha Lhovum, Indian ambassador to Lebanon, said this would perhaps be the ship’s last trip to Beirut before it joined the three others that were already on way to India after having helped evacuate Indian and other nationals.
But this will not be the last of Indian help for Lebanon. “The PM has already announced that India will offer $2.5 million worth of help to Lebanon and as soon as all the arrangements are made in New Delhi, more supplies will be flown in,” said Lhovum.
Mohamed Mamlouq, Lebanese governmental representative and coordinator of international relief, was at the port to receive the ship and the supplies.