A DAY after the government moved two IAF aircraft and a Navy ship to evacuate Indians stranded in violence-hit Sudan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Monday that around 500 Indians have reached Port Sudan to board INS Sumedha, which has already reached there. More Indians are expected to board the ship soon before it returns home, he said.
Port Sudan is about 850 km away from Sudan’s capital city Khartoum. The situation has been volatile in Khartoum with fierce fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary force being reported at various locations over the past 11 days.
Officials said the Navy ship option is being exercised since Sudan’s airspace has been closed, and that has been a challenge to evacuate Indians stuck in Sudan.
Launching “Operation Kaveri”, the evacuation mission, Jaishankar — who is currently in Guyana — said that India’s ships and aircraft are set to bring the Indians back home. “Operation Kaveri gets underway to bring back our citizens stranded in Sudan. About 500 Indians have reached Port Sudan. More on their way,” Jaishankar tweeted. “Our ships and aircraft are set to bring them back home. Committed to assist all our brethren in Sudan.”
Meanwhile, France has evacuated some Indians along with citizens of 27 other countries as part of its evacuation mission.
The French embassy in New Delhi said Monday that 388 people from 28 countries, including India, were evacuated. “French evacuation operations are underway. Last night, two military flight rotations evacuated 388 people of [from] 28 countries, including Indian nationals,” it tweeted.
However, the number of Indians evacuated by France is not known. Earlier, Saudi Arabia had evacuated three Indians, who were part of the crew of a Saudi flight and stuck in Khartoum.
The government’s evacuation plans got underway, days after PM Narendra Modi asked officials to prepare contingency plans for evacuation of about 3,000 Indians stranded in Sudan. “As part of our preparations… the Government of India is pursuing multiple options. Two Indian Air Force C-130J are currently positioned on standby in Jeddah. And, INS Sumedha has reached Port Sudan,” the MEA said in a statement Sunday.