India has started ‘Operation Kaveri’, an evacuation mission to bring back stranded citizens from conflict-torn Sudan. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed about the Operation Kaveri in a tweet on Monday. Jaishankar wrote that over 500 Indians had reached Port Sudan and more are on their way.
“Operation Kaveri gets underway to bring back our citizens stranded in Sudan. About 500 Indians have reached Port Sudan. More on their way,” he tweeted. “Our ships and aircraft are set to bring them back home. Committed to assisting all our bretheren in Sudan.”
As part of its contingency plans to bring Indians back from Sudan, India had already positioned two heavy-lift military transport aircraft in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah and a naval ship at a key port in Sudan. The government had said on Friday that it was focusing on the safety of over 3,000 Indian citizens present throughout Sudan.
Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has been marred by violence since April 15 when clashes broke out between the military and the well-armed Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group. The violence has created a humanitarian crisis in the country with over 427 people now dead, UN agencies said. Residents have expressed fear for their lives as clashes spread through residential areas.
Countries are racing to evacuate their citizens from Sudan as the fighting calmed down. All US government personnel were evacuated from Washington’s embassy in Khartoum, besides a small number of diplomatic personnel from other countries, US officials said on Saturday.
The operation evacuated fewer than 100 people, the officials told reporters. “We evacuated all of the US personnel and dependents assigned to Embassy Khartoum,” said Under Secretary of State for Management John Bass.
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday the country’s armed forces evacuated diplomatic staff and their family members from Sudan. Sunak called it a “complex and rapid” evacuation, saying there had been a significant escalation in violence and threats to embassy staff. However, British nationals living in Sudan are still waiting to be rescued.
“I pay tribute to the commitment of our diplomats and bravery of the military personnel who carried out this difficult operation,” Sunak said on Twitter. “We are continuing to pursue every avenue to end the bloodshed in Sudan and ensure the safety of British nationals remaining in the country.”
China also started evacuating its citizens from Sudan on Monday. Speaking at a press briefing in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that China is working with embassies of neighbouring countries to coordinate the operation and that the first batch of its citizens has been evacuated.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy in Sudan once again remind Chinese citizens to pay close attention to the notices issued by the embassy, to report personal information in a timely manner, and to keep in constant communication,” said Mao.
Canada has temporarily suspended operations in Sudan and evacuated its diplomats, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter on Sunday. A German Air Force plane with 101 people landed in Berlin early on Monday. France carried out evacuations of its citizens and other nationals from Sudan’s war-torn capital of Khartoum on Sunday (April 23), the French government said.
France also said Monday that it is closing its embassy in Sudan. The foreign ministry said that the French mission in Khartoum will be shut “until further notice” and that the embassy will no longer serve as a rallying point for foreigners trying to leave Sudan.
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