Strapping up their boots, the armed forces on Wednesday moved their machinery to rise to any emergency in a possible area of natural calamity strike in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.

After an 8.6-magnitude earthquake, with its epicentre 270 nautical miles south of Campbell Bay, was reported at 2.08 p.m. on Wednesday, the Indian Navy took immediate action in preparation for any possible tsunami.

Ships in Port Blair were sailed out, while the Eastern Naval Command began preparing its ships with disaster relief teams embarked on them to provide immediate assistance to affected areas. Other naval ships in the Bay of Bengal were also alerted, a Defence Ministry release said.

The Indian Air Force kept two C-130J special operations aircraft on standby at the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad. The special operations aircraft are ready to fly a swift reaction team of 80 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel equipped with sniffer dogs any moment upon call. Ten tonnes of medical supplies and rescue and relief materials have been loaded on the aircraft.

One IL-76 transport aircraft has also been kept on standby at Chandigarh to carry an NDRF team, while two AN-32s and Dorniers are on standby in the southern sector.

Ever since the 2004 tsunami strike, the Navy has been working on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that also form part of the multination biennial Milan exercises held at Port Blair.

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