As part of the Indian government’s efforts to evacuate stranded Indians from violence-ridden Sudan, two C-130J military transport aircraft have been placed on standby in Jeddah, while an Indian Navy vessel has arrived at a strategic port in the region, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Sunday.
The statement came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed officials to prepare contingency evacuation plans for about 3,000 Indian citizens stuck in the country amid escalating violence.
The MEA has disclosed that contingency plans have been established to facilitate the evacuation of Indian citizens from Sudan, but emphasised that any action taken will be dependent on the state of security on the ground.
“Two Indian Air Force C-130J are currently positioned on standby in Jeddah. And, INS Sumedha has reached Port Sudan," it said. “Contingency plans are in place but any movement on the ground would depend on the security situation, which continues to be volatile with reports of fierce fighting at various locations in Khartoum," the MEA said.
According to the government, the security situation in Sudan remains unstable, with reports of intense clashes emerging from multiple areas within the capital city of Khartoum.
The MEA said India is making all-out efforts to ensure the safety and security of Indians stranded in Sudan. “We are closely monitoring the complex and evolving security situation in Sudan," it said. “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 MEA said.
In addition to engaging with Sudanese authorities, the MEA and the Indian embassy in Sudan have established frequent communication with a range of international actors, including the UN, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and the US, among others.
The MEA has further stated that the Indian government is actively pursuing various options to ensure a swift and effective response to the situation at hand.
According to the statement, the airspace over Sudan is currently closed to foreign aircraft, and there are significant risks and logistical obstacles associated with overland transportation.
The primary airport located in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, has become a site of intense conflict, with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) currently controlling the airport and engaging in clashes with the army.
Evacuation By Road
India is planning to evacuate by road those who are outside the conflict zone and in areas with lesser violence, as reported by News18.
On Saturday, a group of over 150 individuals, including Indian citizens, were successfully rescued from Sudan and transported to Jeddah, as confirmed by the Saudi foreign ministry. The group comprised 91 Saudi nationals and 66 individuals from 12 other countries, namely Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso, all of whom arrived safely in Saudi Arabia.
US, Britain and French forces were among several countries who have evacuated embassy staff and their families from the war-torn region.
The ongoing violence in Sudan has resulted in over 420 fatalities and numerous injuries, as per the United Nations. The conflict has raised concerns of further destabilization and a potential humanitarian crisis in a nation already grappling with significant economic challenges.
Source: News18, PTI