The first batch of 278 Indian nationals were evacuated from strife-torn Sudan on Tuesday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed in New Delhi.
The stranded Indians are aboard the Indian Navy Ship (INS) Sumedha and are being taken to the Jeddah city in Saudi Arabia from where they will be flown to India. The evacuation operation is code-named as Kaveri.
“First batch of stranded Indians leave Sudan under Operation Kaveri. INS Sumedha with 278 people onboard departs Port Sudan for Jeddah,” tweeted Bagchi.
In another tweet, the spokesperson said another INS vessel has arrived in Sudan for the evacuation operation.
“INS Teg joins Operation Kaveri. Arrives at Port Sudan with additional officials and essential relief supplies for stranded Indians. Will boost ongoing evacuation efforts by Embassy Camp Office at Port Sudan,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Minister of State (junior minister) for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan has been dispatched to Jeddah to oversee the evacuation operation.
“Upon arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to join Team Operation Kaveri, visited the control room set up to facilitate evacuation of Indians from Sudan. Necessary infrastructure is in place in both Port Sudan and Jeddah. Team is in full readiness on the ground,” tweeted the minister.
Announcing Operation Kaveri on Monday, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said, “About 500 Indians have reached Port Sudan. More on their way. Our ships and aircraft are set to bring them back home.” ■