The security situation in Sudan is currently unstable, with reports of intense fighting in various parts of Khartoum. In response, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructed the preparation of contingency plans for the evacuation of Indian nationals.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has stated that ‘Operation Kaveri’ to evacuate Indians from Sudan is underway, with about 500 people already having arrived at Port Sudan (approximately 850 kilometres from Khartoum).
Jaishankar has also discussed the situation with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, as well as with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Indian government is focusing on ensuring the safety of the more than 3,000 Indian citizens currently residing in Sudan.
About Operation Kaveri
- The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had announced contingency plans for the evacuation of Indians from Sudan, but emphasised that any movement would depend on the security situation.
- The Indian Air Force has positioned two transport aircraft C-130s in Jeddah and naval ship INS Sumedha in Port Sudan as part of India’s contingency plans to evacuate stranded Indians from Sudan.
- Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will oversee the rescue operation, which will involve close coordination with partner countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and the US, as well as Sudanese authorities and the UN.
- The operation has been named ‘Operation Kaveri’, after a major river in southern India that is sacred to the people of the region. The name represents the idea that rivers always reach their destination, just like a mother who ensures the safety of her children.
About the Sudan Crisis:
- Sudan is currently facing a violent power struggle between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) across the country.
- This conflict is due to a disagreement over an internationally supported plan to establish a new civilian government, four years after the removal of authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir and two years after a military coup.
- The army and the RSF are blaming each other for hindering the transition, leading to widespread violence and instability.
Previous Evacuation Operations by India:
- Operation Ganga (2022) – During the 2022 Russian military attack on Ukraine, the Indian government launched “Operation Ganga” to evacuate its citizens stranded in neighbouring countries such as Romania, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and Slovakia. The evacuation mission was successful with the assistance of these countries and the citizens were safely transported back to India.
- Vande Bharat (2020) – The Indian government initiated the Vande Bharat Mission in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic to repatriate Indian citizens who were stranded in foreign countries. The mission was conducted in several phases, and as of April 30th, 2021, approximately 6 million Indians were safely brought back to the country.
- Samudra Setu (2020) – It was an initiative launched by the Indian government to repatriate Indian citizens stranded in foreign countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This operation involved the Indian Navy, which used several ships such as Jalashwa, Airavat, Shardul, and Magar to bring back Indians from various countries. Over 3,992 Indian citizens were brought back to India through this mission, which lasted for more than 55 days and involved traversing more than 23,000 km by sea.
- Operation Raahat (2015) – Operation Raahat was launched by the Indian government in 2015 to rescue thousands of Indians stranded in Yemen due to the conflict between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia had declared a no-fly zone over Yemen, making it inaccessible by air. The Indian government evacuated nearly 5,600 people from Yemen through this operation.
- Operation Maitri (2015) – The 2015 Nepal earthquake triggered a joint relief and rescue operation by the Indian government and the Indian Armed forces. The operation involved the evacuation of over 5,000 Indians from Nepal using Air Force and civilian planes. The Indian army also successfully evacuated 170 foreign nationals from countries such as the US, UK, Russia and Germany.
General Facts About Sudan
- Sudan is a country located in Northeast Africa. It is the third-largest country in Africa and the Arab world, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Capital – Khartoum.
- Official languages – Arabic and English.
- Population – Over 43 million.
- Predominant religion – Islam.
- Currency – Sudanese pound (SDG).
- Sudan is bordered by Egypt to the north, Libya to the northwest, Chad to the west, the Central African Republic to the southwest, South Sudan to the south, Ethiopia to the southeast, and Eritrea to the east.
- The Nile River runs through Sudan, making it a major source of irrigation and hydroelectric power.
- Sudan is known for its ancient Nubian civilization and has several UNESCO World Heritage sites.