Amidst the ongoing violence in the African nation Sudan, almost 1,100 Indians have been rescued from there under Operation Kaveri. Indian Navy ships and military transport aircraft have been deployed to the strife torn country to evacuate the remaining Indian citizens as the 72 hours ceasefire call appeared to be holding.
According to reports much of the conflict is actually happening in densely populated areas of Sudan and that has impacted the civilians. One ex-serviceman from Kerala Albert Augustine, 48, was killed last week when he was hit by a stray bullet, his family has been brought back but his body is still in Khartoum.
At the moment, according to foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra there are approximately 3,500 Indians and 1,000-odd Indian-origin persons (PIOs) who are stranded in Sudan. “These are approximate numbers,” he said during a special briefing on Operation Kaveri.
So far around 3,400 Indians have registered for evacuation on the online registration process initiated by the Indian government and many are in touch with the Indian mission. Since April 15 the government has been monitoring the situation that has erupted following clashes between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Force. According to the foreign secretary the situation on the ground remains volatile and it is difficult to access the area outside Khartoum.
“Almost 1700-2000 Indians have moved out of the conflict zone and these include Indians who have reached Port Sudan, or reached Jeddah, those on their way back to India.”
To a question related to evacuating foreign nationals, the foreign secretary said that “India is willing to provide assistance to all. But this is subject to fulfillment of procedures as there is a third intermediary country involved in the process of evacuation.”
India has received several requests from other countries to help in evacuation of their citizens. India recently evacuated citizens of Sri Lanka.
According to him the situation is unpredictable and volatile. And India has been in touch with the two warring groups because India has a good relationship with Sudan.
“India stands for development in Sudan. And we have enjoyed good relations with stakeholders in that country and Sudan sees Indian nationals as good citizens.”
The focus is moving the Indian citizens out of the conflict zone and then 850 kms northeast to Port Sudan.
When it comes to discussing evacuation of stranded Indians in Sudan, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has spoken to his counterparts of the US, Saudi Arabia, the UK, UAE and Egypt.
India expresses gratitude to Saudi Arabia for helping in evacuating Indian nationals.
In the special briefing related to the evacuation of Indian nationals from war torn Sudan, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra expressed gratitude to the government of Saudi Arabia for having provided excellent support in the evacuation of Indian nationals.
Sharing details about the evacuation, FS said that the third naval ship INS Tarkash reached Port Sudan in northeastern Sudan via Operation Kaveri. India is coordinating closely with the government of Saudi Arabia to figure out the logistics. And Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has already reached Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to monitor the process and to welcome the evacuees.
Today (April 27), from Jeddah another batch of 246 evacuees flew back to Mumbai on IAF’s C17 Globemaster flight. On Wednesday, the first batch of 360 stranded nationals reached Delhi.
Situation in Sudan
It has been a fortnight since the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), under Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary group RSF, under Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagal, have been fighting.
As reported earlier, the UN says that more than 400 people have been killed and several thousand injured.
What is happening in Sudan?
Two military men are at the centre of the violent clashes in Sudan — General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the armed forces since 2019 and a paramilitary force called the Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti). He is also General Buhan’s deputy on the council.
The two are disagreeing on the proposed move to civilian rule in their country and also the government’s plan to include RSF in the Army.
Both Army officers have been sharing their thoughts on the social media. General Dagalo, has alleged that General Burhan’s government were “radical islamists’’ through a series of tweets. He has claimed that his fight is guarantee the democratic progress in the country.
However, on the other hand General Burhan has said that he supports civilian rule, but that he will only hand over power to an elected government.