Navy ship arrives in Yemen to evacuate stranded Indians

Navy ship arrives in Yemen  to evacuate stranded Indians

An Indian Navy ship has reached Aden port in Yemen to evacuate Indians from the conflict-hit South-west Asian nation, even as Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (retd) V K Singh left for Djibouti to oversee New Delhi’s evacuation efforts—now christened “Operation Raahat”.

The two Air India aircraft waiting at Muscat in Oman, however, are yet to get clearance to fly into the airspace of Yemen and land at the country’s capital Sana’a to evacuate Indians.

Shortly before INS Sumitra entered the harbour at Aden, Indian citizens living in nearby places were asked to assemble at the port and wait to board the ship, according to the latest report reaching the Ministry of External Affairs control room in New Delhi. “INS Sumitra (is) now in Aden harbour. Evacuation of our nationals from Yemen (to begin) soon,” MEA official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted on Tuesday.

Two C-17 Globemaster aircraft of the Indian Air Force will fly them home once INS Sumitra ferries the evacuees to Djibouti, said sources in New Delhi. Nearly 400 of the 3,500-odd Indians in Yemen live in and around the coastal city of Aden.

The Indian Embassy in Sana’a and the Honorary Consul General of India in Aden on Monday arranged for a local vessel to ferry them across the Red Sea to Djibouti.
But most of them were reluctant to board the local vessel and insisted that an alternative ship be arranged to ensure safe travel.

Two other Indian Navy vessels—INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash—which departed from Mumbai on Monday, are on their way to Aden. So are the merchant vessels MV Kavaratti and MV Coral, which left Kochi port on Monday. The four ships will meet somewhere in the Arabian Sea and then proceed towards Aden as a flotilla.

The latest reports quoting Navy sources said Indians started boarding INS Sumitra in night-time conditions. Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul aziz All Saud called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on Monday evening , and he sought the royal's support for India's plan to evacuate its citizens from the conflict zones of Yemen.

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