Home Bound! Rescued Indians leave South Sudan

Raj Kamal Rao
Minister of State General VK Singh speaking to rescued Indians on board. Courtesy: MEAIndia/Twitter

Minister of State General VK Singh speaking to rescued Indians on board.
Courtesy: MEAIndia/Twitter

Government of India launched operation Sankat Mochan on Thursday morning to rescue hundreds of Indians stranded in violence hit African country South Sudan. The fist c-17 flight carrying 143 Indians including 10 women, 3 infants on board as 1st departed from South Sudan Capital Juba.

“Homeward Bound!  143 inc.10 women & 3 infants onboard as 1st C-17 Globemaster prepares to depart Juba,”said the Indian Embassy in South Sudan on Thursday.

The two Globemaster air crafts of the Indian Air force will reach Entebbe in Uganda on Thursday night and stay there for 3 hours to fill air fuel. The first batch of rescued Indians will land in Thiruvanathapuram early on Friday morning and then reach Delhi by the afternoon,

Minister for External Affaris General VK Singh who is leading the rescue team landed in South Sudan on Thursday afternoon and met with South Sudan Finance Minister Deng Alor Kuol.

MoS External Affairs VK Singh discusses evacuation plans with South Sudan Finance Minister Deng Alor Kuol  Deng Alor Kuol

MoS External Affairs VK Singh discusses evacuation plans with South Sudan Finance Minister Deng Alor Kuol
Deng Alor Kuol

Both the leaders have discussed strategy to evacuate 600 stranded Indians in Indian Embassy and few police men from Maharashtra police who are struck in violence hit Juba.

“MoS External Affairs General VK Singh meets with S Sudan FM Deng Alor Kuol to seek close coordination with local authorities,” said MEA Spokesperson Vika Swarup

General VK Singh landed in Juba on Thursday Afternoon and interacted with Indian embassy officials who have initiated the registration of Indians registered with the embassy.

Earlier on Thursday morning, two C17 aircraft of Indian Air Force left for Juba on Thursday morning with Minister of State for External Affair VK Singh onboard. Apart from Singh, Amar Sinha, Secretary of Economic Relations is also travelling to Juba.

“Operation Sankat Mochan begins at crack of dawn. Two C 17 aircraft leave for Juba with Gen VK Singh on board,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The aircraft are expected to land in Juba at 11 am and Indians with valid documents will be allowed to board them. It also said that women and children will be accommodated on priority.

“We’ll make all possible efforts to bring back safely all Indian nationals who are stranded in Sudan,” VK singh told media before leaving for the mission.

Stranded Indians register their details with Indian embassy in South Sudan capital city Juba. Courtesy: MEAIndia/Twitter

Stranded Indians register their details with Indian embassy in South Sudan capital city Juba.
Courtesy: MEAIndia/Twitter

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked Indian nationals from Juba (South Sudan) to register details of people present in and around the capital city with the Embassy

“Our Ambassador in South Sudan Srikumar Menon and his team is organising this operation on the ground. We are launching operation Sankat Mochan to evacuate Indian nationals from South Sudan. My colleague General VK Singh is leading this operation,” Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter.

South Sudan has been hit by violence which has claimed hundreds of lives till now. The conflict is because of clashes between government troops and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir had ordered a ceasefire on Monday to calm the situation.  President Salva Kiir had ordered a ceasefire on Monday to calm the situation. As per reports, there are around 500 Indian citizens living in South Sudan.

India has been closely monitoring developments in South Sudan. On Monday Sushma Swaraj held a high level meeting with officials of External Affairs Ministry and late met Prime Minister Modi to take his nod.  A task force has also been set up for the purpose.