The government is making the most of a 72-hour ceasefire window to evacuate roughly 3,000 civilians as India’s “Operation Kaveri,” initiated to evacuate Indians trapped inside war-torn Sudan, is under way. The Ministry of External Affairs is in charge of directing the operation, which includes both the Indian Navy and Air Force.
The majority of civilians are being transported by road to Port Sudan, a hazardous journey, in order to be evacuated by air and sea, due to the fierce fighting in Khartoum between forces loyal to General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, who also commands the Sudanese Armed Forces, and his former deputy, Gen. Mohammed “Hemeti” Hamdan Dagalo of the paramilitary group, RSF. In order to oversee logistics, time the evacuation operations, and even use Saudi and French planes, India has been working with other nations that have the most civilians and resources in Sudan, like the U.S., U.K., the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar spoke with the UN Secretary General in New York while travelling to the Caribbean on a scheduled visit and asked for assistance. Given that even ambulances and aid workers have been targeted, it is obvious that military troops, government employees, and diplomats will have a challenging few days. The cumulative knowledge gained from such operations over the years, starting with the biggest single civilian evacuation during the Gulf War in 1991, has undoubtedly helped them. procedure, and even possibly a special force to deal with such crises — as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee for External Affairs, in 2022 — must be considered by the government. It is also essential that such crises be devoid of political grand-standing or finger-pointing, and that unseemly public spats over the evacuation, or unnecessary controversies over garnering domestic political mileage be avoided. The departure from Sudan puts India’s unique difficulties in any crisis back into sharp relief. There are currently very few conflicts that do not touch Indian citizens, with over seven million visitors and travellers annually and around 14 million non-resident Indians. Given that many people work in the most hazardous conditions—for instance, students in Ukraine, nurses in Iraq or Yemen, or labourers in Libya, Syria, and Lebanon—the government has a larger obligation to assist those without the means to leave for safer ground. Consequently, a SOP should be implemented. That standing must be prese