Explained: 'Operation Kaveri' To Evacuate Indians From Conflict-Hit Sudan
Explaining the modus operandi adopted in carrying out Operation Kaveri in the conflict-hit Sudan, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra on Thursday said that the embassy reached out to the Indian community as soon as the “fighting broke out in Khartoum.”
“Issued advisories both in Khartoum city as well as in Delhi., created a network of communication within Sudan despite the challenges of network availability, power ability to charge your network, to charge your devices. Created a system a group of communications through which they (stranded Indians) could pass out information about the ongoing conflict situation to the members of the community., advise them suitably not to take avoidable risks. Also keep them informed about the efforts of the government of India underway as part of Operation Kaveri to assist them,” Kwatra said in a special press briefing on Operation Kaveri.
He said that Embassy also started an online registration process.
“So far it is our estimate 3400 Indian nations have either registered online or they are in touch with the embassy. More specifically, I think 3000 odd have already registered online, 3100 and roughly 300 are in touch with the mission,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary said the Indian government and embassy’s focus has been to advise stranded Indian nationals to remain safe and help them move to secure locations whenever feasible. The Ministry of External Affairs set up a 24X7 control room which will continue to operate till India overcomes the current situation, he informed.
He said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also spoke to foreign ministers of the US, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UK to discuss the Sudan situation. Kwatra said that the talks with foreign ministers come in addition to Jaishankar’s meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the US.
In the press briefing, Kwatra said Operation Kaveri is being carried out in an ecosystem which consists of a “highly volatile conflict zone situation in Sudan.”
“When we talk about Operation Kaveri. Naturally, there would a focus on number of Indians who are stuck in Sudan, how many have come back, how many we are planning to bring back which is very significant and probably the most important consideration for the government of India. But, I would also suggest to you to keep in mind the ecosystem in which this exercise of assisting and bring back the stranded Indians is taking place. The ecoystem comprises highly volatile conflict zone situation in Sudan pretty much very hard to access areas outside the Khartoum city and I will talk about that as we go along,” Kwatra said.
“Our estimate is there are approximately 3500 Indian nationals and about 1000 odd PIOs in Sudan. As I said, these numbers are approximate numbers and it is our effort to put as much specificity to those numbers as we can. Some of these numbers keep fluctuating depending or rather keep getting added depending upon who reaches out to the Embassy considering they are all scattered not just all over Khartoum city but also in many parts of Sudan. The pockets of concentration are in Khartoum City and its suburbs. There are also pockets in Omdurman, Al Fashir, Kassala, Port Sudan etc., where many of the Indian nationals are located,” he added.
The Foreign Secretary said that India is constantly monitoring the situation in Sudan ever since the conflict broke out on April 15. He said that the situation in Sudan continues to remain “highly volatile.”
“We are constantly monitoring the situation in Sudan ever since the conflict broke out there between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary forces which was on April 15. There after, just to give you flavour of the ground situation. Several times, ceasefires have been declared from both sides. Many of those ceasefires were not honoured, some of them were honoured partially,” Vinay Mohan Kwatra said in the press briefing.
“The last ceasefire announced of 72 hours is holding by and large. But, there has been feedback of some sporadic firing and fighting going on in some parts of Khartoum. Also, as a result of that, the situation on the ground remains highly volatile,” he added.
He said that there are around 600 Indian nations who arrived in India or are on their way to return to India. He said that there are around 495 Indian nationals who are in Jeddah right now.
“So, 360 of them arrived by a Charter Saudi Arabia flight yesterday night and another 246 are being flown to Maharashtra State in a Commissioned C-17 flight,” Vinay Mohan Kwatra said.
“We currently have approximately give some leeway on the number of approximately 495 Indian nationals who are in Jeddah as of now. These numbers will either go up or come down depending upon the flows in from Port Sudan and depending upon the evacuation from Jeddah to India,” he added.
He further said, “Also as we speak, there are 320 Indian nationals who are in Port Sudan currently stationed. We have more number of buses moving from Khartoum City to Port Sudan. And as I said INS Sumedha, our ship, is already there. INS Tarkash is about to dock there. We have two C-130 J aircraft standing in Jeddah for more sorties later during the day.”
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