Pak denies airspace to Indian aircraft carrying NDRF team, medical aid to quake-hit Turkey

Pakistan on Tuesday morning refused to give its airspace to Turkish-bound Indian Air Force planes. This is the second time that Pakistan has tried to block India from sending humanitarian aid to countries in need.

Turkey and Syria were jolted by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake – currently believed to be one of the most devastating in West Asia’s history – on Monday morning resulting in more than 4,800 deaths and injuring thousands more The debris of dilapidated buildings are trapped.

Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have already landed at Adana airport with modern drilling equipment, medics and rescue dogs, but were turned around due to Pakistan’s refusal to allow them to use its airspace .

The last time Pakistan blocked India from using its territory was in 2021 after the Taliban takeover of Pakistan. In December, India decided to send 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan as a part of its humanitarian assistance to the war-torn nation.

Islamabad proposed that goods from India to Afghanistan be transported in Pakistani trucks through the Wagah border point. It later allowed the trucks to pass through, citing “extraordinary grounds for humanitarian purposes”.

Pakistan’s move may face criticism as the plane, which took off from the Hindon airbase in Uttar Pradesh, had to take a detour. According to reports from Turkey and Syria, shell shock survivors in some affected areas have joined rescue officials in helping rescue other victims from the rubble.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) is having trouble rescuing people trapped under the rubble, and the White Helmets in Syria are also facing a shortage of manpower in the cities of Azaz and Saqlain.

The Indian Mission in Turkey will assist in the rescue efforts in Turkey. The Turkish Embassy in India has thanked the Government of India for the help. “The first batch of earthquake relief material has just arrived in Turkey with NDRF’s specialized search and rescue teams and trained dog squads. Thank you India for your support and solidarity,” the Turkish Embassy said in a tweet.