Pakistan denied Indian Air Force aircraft flying to Turkey early Tuesday morning access to its airspace. This is Pakistan’s second attempt to prevent India from sending humanitarian aid to nations in need.
On Monday morning, Turkey and Syria were jolted by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake, currently regarded as one of the most devastating earthquakes in West Asian history, resulting in over 4,800 deaths, tens of thousands injured, and thousands trapped under the rubble of dilapidated buildings.
The Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams had already arrived at Adana airport with modern drilling equipment, medics, and rescue dogs, but they had to take a detour because Pakistan refused flight permission to use its airspace.
The Indian Army is also deploying a field hospital to provide medical assistance to those in the region.
The last time Pakistan barred India from using its territory was after the Taliban took over Pakistan in 2021. India decided to send 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan as part of its humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country in December.
The shipment also included life-saving medications.
Islamabad proposed that goods from India be transported to Afghanistan via Pakistani trucks from the Wagah border crossing. Later it allowed the trucks to pass through citing an “exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes”.
Pakistan’s move will almost certainly be criticized because the flight, which took off from Hindon air base in Uttar Pradesh, had to deviate. According to reports from Turkey and Syria, in some of the affected areas, shell-shocked survivors have joined rescue officials to assist in the rescue of other victims from the rubble.
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) is having difficulty rescuing people trapped beneath the rubble, and the White Helmets in Syria are also suffering from a lack of manpower in the cities of Azaz and Saqlin.
The Indian mission to Turkey will aid in rescue efforts. The Turkish embassy in India has expressed gratitude to the Indian government for its assistance. “First batch of earthquake relief material along with NDRF’s special search & rescue teams and trained dog squads just arrived in Turkiye. “We appreciate India’s support and solidarity,” the Turkish embassy said in a tweet.