India is a sending a 45-member search and rescue team on Friday to be deployed in quake and tsunami ravaged regions of Japan. This will be the first international assignment of the National Disaster Response Force, which was constituted in 2005 and is made up of eight battalions of central paramilitary forces. “Search n Res team leaves tmrw evening – 45 members. Were on standby,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on her twitter account Thursday.
The team will be deployed at Rifu-cho in Miyagi prefecture, 365 km from Tokyo. Miyagi was one of the worst affected in the March 11 tragedy that has killed over 9,000 people. India had earlier sent a plane-load of blankets, followed by 10,000 litres of drinking water to meet shortages. According to MEA officials, India may also be sending packets of high-nutrition biscuits to Japan in the coming days.
A day earlier, Prime Minster Manmohan Singh spoke to his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan and reiterated India’s offer of any assistance to the tsunami and quake hit country. “He reiterated that the people and the government of India stood solidly with the friendly people of Japan in their hour of grief. He also offered to make available any additional assistance that Japan may require,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement Thursday. The conversation took place Wednesday.