The Spain government conferred External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with a prestigious award ‘Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit’. The award was conferred in recognition of India’s support in evacuating 71 Spanish nationals during April 2015 Nepal earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and injured as many as 22,000 people.
EA Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Spain on Monday on the last leg of her trip to three-nation Bulgaria, Morroco and Spain. The award was given to Swaraj by Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles in Madrid. Swaraj is expected to have talks with Borrell regarding the bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern.
- The Operation Maitri (Hindi word for Amity and Friendship) was a rescue and relief operation in Nepal launched by the Modi government and Indian armed forces in the aftermath of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.
- Creditably for the armed forces and disaster management works, India’s response was started within 15 minutes of the quake.
- Rated as ‘the most powerful disaster’ to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, the killer quake is said to have left at least 8,900 people in Nepal dead.
- Seventy one Spanish people were also rescued during the herculean rescue and relief works.