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In special gesture, India deploys naval aircraft to rescue Chinese sailors in Indian Ocean as vessel sinks

The Indian Navy P81 aircraft (Photo: Twitter)

The Indian Navy has deployed maritime aircraft to rescue members of a Chinese fishing boat with 39 crew members that sank in the Indian Ocean. India deployed P-8I maritime patrol aircraft after a request from China on Wednesday.

The navy said that in a swift humanitarian action on 17 May, the Indian Navy deployed its air maritime assets in the Southern Indian Ocean Region (IOR) approximately 900 nautical miles from India. It said that the Chinese fishing vessel, Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028, had 39 crew members from China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The navy said that the “P8I aircraft have carried out multiple and  extensive searches despite adverse weather and located multiple objects possibly belonging to the sunken vessel… In a display of India’s obligations as a credible and responsible partner for ensuring safety at sea, the Indian Navy units also coordinated SAR efforts with other units in the area and guided #PLA(N) warships transiting to the scene of the incident”.

India is acknowledged as the first responder in the IOR. It has supported neighbouring nations during the Covid pandemic, in disaster management efforts and in delivering Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR).

In a press conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told journalists: “Countries such as Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Maldives and the Philippines have extended emergency assistance and sent sympathies for the Chinese boat and crew. The operation has been commended from various quarters in China and abroad. The Chinese government sincerely appreciates the help from those countries. As we speak, the search and rescue operation is still underway”.

Wang said that President Xi Jinping has given special instructions to deploy additional rescue forces and coordinate with international marine search and rescue.

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