Recently, attention of many international and Indian media has been focused to the Tham Luang Cave, in Mae Sai District, in the northern province of Chiang Rai in Thailand, where 12 youth footballers and their coach were trapped inside the flooded cave since 23 June, 2018.
The Governor of Chiang Rai Province has been leading rescue mission attempted by Thai agencies concerned, with cooperation from various sectors of the Thai society as well as support pouring in from many friendly countries, including the UK, USA, Japan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, People’s Republic of China, Australia, Belgium and Israel, among others. International news agencies reported the latest progress of the rescue mission to interested audience all over the globe.
On 2 July, the Thai people and our foreign friends around the world rejoiced when British divers found the 12 boys and their coach still surviving on the rock shelf over the water level, deep inside the cave complex, and plans to take them out to safety were prepared and carried out in earnest. On 6 July, we mourned together the loss of Chief Petty Officer Saman Gunan, former Royal Thai Navy SEAL diver, who sacrificed his life while preparing for the rescue mission. On 8 July, we celebrated together the success of the rescue operation, which has delivered the first batch of the boys, 4 of them, out of the cave and to the care of the waiting medical teams. By the evening of 9 July, 4 more have been rescued. The remaining 5 are expected to be rescued in batches in a series of operations within one or two days, depending on conditions of the weather, the water, the health of the trapped footballers, among other factors.
Throughout all these episodes, the Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi has been made aware of the deep sympathy and care, as well as the best wishes for success of the rescue mission, of so many Indian friends of Thailand, both in India and diaspora. In particular, the Embassy of India in Bangkok has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand that an Indian Company with expertise in draining water and flood management, namely M/S Kirloskar Brothers Limited, is willing to offer their technical assistance and their pumps to contribute to the rescue mission. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand promptly conveyed India’s generous offer to the consideration of the Thai Ministry of Interior, and H.E. Mr. Don Pramudvinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, sent a heartfelt thank-you letter to the Honourable Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs of India.
The generous and thoughtful gesture of our Indian friends, both from the public and private sectors, within and outside of India, is greatly appreciated, and will not be forgotten.