- On Tuesday, the first batch of Indians stuck in conflict-torn Sudan was evacuated aboard the INS Sumedha from Port Sudan as part of Operation Kaveri.
- The group of 278 people were among the first to arrive in Port Sudan during the 72-hour ceasefire, which began at midnight on Monday. They are scheduled to arrive in Saudi Arabia’s port of Jeddah within a day.
Points to Ponder:
- India’s Operation Kaveri: To evacuate Indians trapped within war-torn Sudan, India launched Operation Kaveri. The Indian Air Force and Indian Navy are participating in the operation, which is being coordinated by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- Sudan’s challenges: Due to intense fighting in Khartoum between forces loyal to the ruling council’s chairman and his former deputy, most civilians are being transported by road to Port Sudan, a risky journey, to be evacuated by air and sea.
- Coordination with other nations: India has been coordinating efforts with other countries that have the most population and resources in Sudan, like the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, on logistics, scheduling of evacuation operations, and even the use of Saudi and French planes.
- The difficulty of the operation: Given that humanitarian workers and ambulances have been attacked, military men, bureaucrats, and diplomats face a rough few days ahead. They were undoubtedly helped by the cumulative experience of previous operations over the decades, culminating with the largest single civilian evacuation during the Gulf War in 1991.
- obstacles for India in any crisis: Due to the vast number of non-resident Indians and tourists who may be affected, India confronts unique obstacles in any conflict. There is almost no problem today that does not affect an Indian citizen, with over 14 million non-resident Indians and more than seven million visitors and travellers each year.
- Government obligation: Given that many works in the most dangerous circumstances, such as students in Ukraine, nurses in Iraq or Yemen, or labourers in Libya, Syria, and Lebanon, the government’s responsibility to assist those without the resources to return to safety is larger.
- As a result, the government must develop a standard operating method, and even a special force, to deal with such emergencies, as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs in 2022.
- Avoiding political issues is critical during such emergencies, as is avoiding political grandstanding or finger-pointing, as well as ugly public spats about evacuation or unneeded controversies over gaining domestic political mileage
- India’s reputation for rescuing citizens: India is admired for its reputation and capacity to mobilise all of its resources to save every single citizen in any part of the world whenever they are in need. That reputation must be preserved.