operation kaveri
Indians at Port Sudan awaiting evacuation under ‘Operation Kaveri’. Photo: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

Sudan: India launches 'Operation Kaveri' to evacuate stranded nationals

India on Monday (April 24) launched ‘Operation Kaveri’ to bring back its nationals from Sudan which has been witnessing fierce fighting following a power struggle between the regular army and a paramilitary force.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the operation to evacuate the Indian citizens from Sudan is underway and that about 500 nationals have reached Port Sudan.

“Operation Kaveri gets underway to bring back our citizens stranded in Sudan. About 500 Indians have reached Port Sudan. More on their way,” Jaishankar, currently on a visit to the Caribbean region, tweeted.

Watch: Explained: What’s behind the bloodbath in Sudan?

“Our ships and aircraft are set to bring them back home. Committed to assisting all our brethren in Sudan,” he said.

India on Sunday said it has positioned two transport aircraft of the IAF in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah and naval ship INS Sumedha at Port Sudan as part of its contingency plans to evacuate the stranded Indians.

The government had on Friday said it was focusing on the safety of over 3,000 Indian citizens currently located throughout Sudan.

Sudan has been witnessing deadly fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary group for the last 11 days that has reportedly left around 400 people dead.

Jaishankar’s announcement on the evacuation operation came a day after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that contingency plans to bring back the Indians from Sudan had been put in place but noted that any movement on the ground would depend on the security situation.

It said the security situation in Sudan continues to be “volatile” with reports of fierce fighting coming from various locations in the country’s capital Khartoum.

“Two Indian Air Force C-130J are currently positioned on standby in Jeddah. And, INS Sumedha has reached Port Sudan,” it said.

Also read: Hakki-Pikkis: What are 31 poor Karnataka tribals doing in war-torn Sudan?

“Contingency plans are in place but any movement on the ground would depend on the security situation, which continues to be volatile with reports of fierce fighting at various locations in Khartoum,” the MEA said.

India is also coordinating closely with various partner countries for the safe movement of those Indians who are stranded in Sudan and would like to be evacuated.

Apart from Sudanese authorities, the MEA and the Indian embassy in Sudan have been in regular touch with the UN, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and the 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.

After 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 UAE 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.

In a related development, France evacuated five Indians along with citizens of 27 other countries as part of its evacuation mission from Sudan.

The French embassy in India said 388 people from 28 countries, including India, were evacuated.

“French evacuation operations are underway. Last night, two military flight rotations evacuated 388 people of 28 countries, including Indian nationals,” it tweeted.
French diplomatic sources said five Indian nationals were among those evacuated by France from Sudan.

They said the evacuation operations were launched on Saturday and they were carried out by the French Air Force using A400M aircraft from the French military base in Djibouti.

(With Agency inputs)

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