Operation Kaveri: How India evacuated 278 stranded Indian nationals from Sudan using INS Sumedha
Reported By:| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: PTI |Updated: Apr 25, 2023, 11:00 PM IST
India on Tuesday evacuated the first batch of 278 Indians from Sudan onboard naval ship INS Sumedha and rushed in essential relief supplies for its remaining stranded citizens as ceasefire appeared to be holding in the strife-torn African country.
The Indian Navy’s second ship, INS Teg, arrived in Port Sudan to bring back more Indians under New Delhi’s mission ‘Operation Kaveri’ that has been launched to evacuate around 3,000 Indians from Sudan, officials said.
India has set up a control room in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah to facilitate evacuation of Indians from Sudan. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has reached Jeddah to oversee the evacuation mission.
“First batch of stranded Indians leave Sudan under #OperationKaveri. INS Sumedha with 278 people onboard departs Port Sudan for Jeddah,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
From Jeddah, India is set to bring back the Indians home in military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
In another tweet, Bagchi said INS Teg also joined the evacuation mission. “INS Teg joins #OperationKaveri. Arrives at Port Sudan with additional officials and essential relief supplies for stranded Indians. Will boost ongoing evacuation efforts by Embassy Camp Office at Port Sudan,” he said.
Sudan has been witnessing deadly fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary group for the last 12 days that has reportedly left around 400 people dead.
India stepped up its efforts to evacuate the Indians from Sudan as a 72-hour truce was agreed to between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) following intense negotiations.
The Indian Navy said its mission deployed warship INS Sumedha was diverted for evacuation of the citizen’s stranded in Sudan. Referring to the evacuation mission, Muraleedharan said necessary infrastructure is in place in both Port Sudan and Jeddah.
“Upon arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to join Team #OperationKaveri, visited the control room set up to facilitate evacuation of Indians from Sudan,” he said on Twitter. “Necessary infrastructure is in place in both Port Sudan and Jeddah. Team is in full readiness on the ground,” he added.
Muraleedharan also inspected a transit facility for the Indians in Jeddah. “Inspected transit facility @IndianPage, Jeddah where Indians evacuated from Sudan will be received & put up briefly before travel to India,” he tweeted.
The minister said the facility is fully equipped with mattresses, fresh meals, toilets, medical support. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday announced launch of the mission to evacuate ‘Operation Kaveri’ to bring back the stranded Indians from Sudan that has been witnessing fierce fighting following a power struggle between the regular army and a paramilitary force.
India on Sunday said it has positioned two transport aircraft of the IAF in Jeddah and naval ship INS Sumedha at Port Sudan as part of its contingency plans to evacuate the Indians. Apart from the Sudanese authorities, the MEA and the Indian embassy in Sudan have been in regular touch with the UN, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and US among others.
At a high-level meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued directions for preparation of contingency plans to evacuate Indians from Sudan. At the meeting, the PMO said Modi instructed officials to prepare contingency evacuation plans, accounting for the rapidly shifting security landscape in Sudan and the viability of various options.
Last week, Jaishankar spoke to his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt on the ground situation in Sudan with a focus on ensuring the safety of the Indians. On Thursday, Jaishankar discussed the situation in Sudan with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.