An Indian Navy Commander (Pilot) Vijay Varma and Captain (Pilot) P Rajkumar were honoured at the 7th ‘Asian of The Year’awards acknowledging their selfless service and bravery in rescue operations during the devastating floods in Kerala. The winners were announced at the Straits Times Global Outlook Forum 2019.
- Commander Varma, 42, winched up a pregnant woman who gave birth just after being airlifted to safety, during the rescue operation in a district of the port city of Kochi.
- Captain Rajkumar, 54, winched 26 people up from a rooftop in Kochi while hovering between trees and other houses besides pulling up a wheelchair-bound pregnant woman. Rajkumar ended up with 32 people on board.
- The award was presented to them by The Straits Times, a well-known Singapore daily.
- Other notable persons who shared the honour with the Indian Navy officers include Singaporean paraglider late Ng Kok Choong, individuals involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand, Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Singapore NGO Mercy Relief, and ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).