New Delhi: The government on Thursday said that the security situation in Sudan remains very complex and highly volatile and assured that all efforts are being taken to ensure the safety of Indian nationals stranded in the violence-hit African nation. Addressing a press briefing in the national capital, Union Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that the Government of India is in touch with all the concerned sides in Sudan with a focus on taking out Indians from the conflict zones.
The Foreign Secretary said, “Our focus has been to take out the Indians from the conflict zones to safer areas as soon as possible and then to bring them back home said.” Referring to India’s evacuation mission ‘Operation Kaveri’, Kwatra informed that 360 Indians have been brought back home and another batch of 246 are reaching India soon.
The Foreign Secretary further informed that around 320 Indians are in Port Sudan and they are being taken to the Saudi city of Jeddah at the moment, according to the news agency PTI.
Kwatra added that the third Indian Naval Ship – INS Tarkash – has also reached Port Sudan this morning to evacuate Indians stranded in Sudan. “We are constantly monitoring the situation in Sudan since the conflict began on April 15,” Kwatra said, adding, “Our estimate is that there are approximately 3500 Indians and 1000 PIOs in Sudan.”
The government launched ‘Operation Kaveri’ with EAM S Jaishankar assuring that the government is “committed to assisting all brethren in Sudan”. As part of the operation, India has positioned two heavy-lift military transport aircraft in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah and a naval ship at a key port in violence-hit Sudan as part of its contingency plans to evacuate its stranded nationals.
It has also set up a transit facility at Jeddah and all the Indians have been taken to the coastal Saudi Arabian city after their evacuation from Sudan. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan is currently in Jeddah to oversee the evacuation mission.
Earlier, France and Saudi Arabia evacuated some Indians along with citizens of other countries as part of their evacuation mission from Sudan. The External Affairs Ministry had said that India is closely monitoring the complex and evolving security situation in Sudan.
“We are also coordinating closely with various partners for the safe movement of those Indians who are stranded in Sudan and would like to be evacuated,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Clashes between Sudan’s army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary since April 15 have killed at least 459 people and injured more than 4,000, according to the WHO. The crisis has sparked a mass exodus of foreigners, while the UN has warned a giant new refugee crisis could be brewing.