NEW DELHI: Two military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) evacuated over 250 Indians from Sudan after a naval ship rescued another 278 citizens from the strife-torn country.
The total number of Indians evacuated so far from Sudan stands at around 530, according to official data.
Under its evacuation mission ‘Operation Kaveri ‘, India has set up a transit facility at Jeddah and all the Indians have been taken to the Saudi Arabian city after their evacuation from Sudan.
The first batch of 278 Indians were evacuated by Indian Navy’s frontline ship INS Sumedha on Tuesday.
Hours later, the first C130J heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF landed at Port Sudan to bring back more Indians. It was followed by evacuation by another C130J.
According to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the first C-130J aircraft brought to Jeddah 121 passengers while the second plane evacuated 135.
“A second C-130 flight reaches Jeddah bringing 135 passengers from Sudan.
#OperationKaveri moving steadily forward,” he tweeted.
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.
From Jeddah, India is set to bring back the Indians home in military transport aircraft of the IAF.
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.
Jaishankar on Monday announced launch of the mission ‘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 last, 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 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.