NEW DELHI,APRIL 1: The Indian Navy sailed into a barrage of bombs on Tuesday evening to evacuate nearly 349 Indians from war-torn Yemen, sources told to NEWSATCLICK.IN. The people are being taken to Djibouti – across the Red Sea on the horn of Africa – where the Indian Air Force’s C-17s are waiting to fly them home.
Here are the latest developments:
- Around 4000 Indians were stranded in Yemen. The evacuation brings the number of rescued people to nearly 750 — 400 were rescued on Monday with the help of a local craft, in absence of clearance to dock Indian ships in Aden.
- The clearance came on Tuesday afternoon, and Navy’s INS Sumitra, which had been waiting outside the Aden harbor, sailed in soon after. Among the 349 people rescued were 220 men, 101 women and 28 children.
- Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is in Djibouti to oversee the evacuation efforts. Five diplomats are also stationed there to help.
- The battle for Aden, the southern port city of Yemen, had raged through the day as Houthi rebels tried to capture the last stronghold of absent President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Saudi jets bombed Houthi positions and at least 36 people were killed.
- For the next few days, INS Sumitra – which will reach Djibouti around noon Indian time on Wednesday – will be the only ship to ferry people. More vessels are on way to carry people to Djibouti, from where India will fly them home.
- The evacuation operation, code named ‘Operation Rahat’, involves not only naval and air force crafts, but two passenger liners — Kavaratti and Coral — and two aircraft from Air India.
- The planes are waiting at Oman’s Muscat, in absence of clearance to fly to Yemeni capital Sana’a.
- On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The Saudi king assured him of full assistance in the safe evacuation of the stranded Indians.
- The Saudi Arabia-led aerial bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen had entered its sixth day on Tuesday. The air strikes are aimed at forcing Houthi rebels to hand power back to President Hadi.
- Many countries in South East Asia, including Pakistan and China, have rushed their officials, aircraft and ships to evacuate their nationals.