India on Thursday said its embassy in violence-hit Sudan falls under the “fighting zone" and advised the stranded Indian nationals to avoid visiting there as no officials are present inside the building. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said New Delhi is coordinating closely with various countries to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals stuck in the strife-torn African country following the clashes between the Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary force.
Fighting erupted in Sudan on April 15, leaving at least 185 people, including an Indian, dead and more than 1,800 injured. Albert Augestine, a retired Indian soldier, was killed on April 15 when a stray bullet hit him while he was standing near the window of his flat in Khartoum.
Addressing the weekly media briefing, he said, “We are in readiness. We are in close touch with our teams on the ground but it all depends on how long there is a ceasefire in fighting and safe locations available for evacuation…The situation on the ground continues to be very tense. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of the individuals. We are in touch with people through different channels."
Bagchi further said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in New York, will be meeting with UN General Secretary to discuss the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
The MEA spokesperson said that the Indian embassy in Khartoum is “open, functioning and rendering all services with officials working from separate locations as nobody is inside the building right now."
Anxious relatives of several Indians stuck in Sudan are eagerly waiting for information about their relatives and appealed to the government to evacuate them from the strife-torn African country as soon as possible.
India is coordinating closely with various countries, including the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia, to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals in violence-hit Sudan, government sources said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Jaishankar has already spoken to his counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the situation in Sudan and they assured him of practical support on the ground for the safety of the Indians in that country.