Yemen , officially known as the Republic of Yemen, is an Arab country in Southwest Asia, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Sana’a is the capital city of this country. Yemen is facing the most severe crisis in years, as most competing groups are fighting for control of the country. It is having serious implications for the security of the country and west. Due to this fight, several citizens from distant countries are stranded there and massive evacuation operations are going on amid the ruffle.
Groups responsible for the crisis
1. Forces loyal to the beleaguered President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi
2. Forces allied to Zaidi Shia rebels known as Houthis, who forced Mr Hadi to flee the capital Sanaa in February.
3. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has staged numerous deadly attacks from its strongholds in the south and south-east.
4. Yemen affiliate of the jihadist group Islamic State, which seeks to eclipse AQAP and claims it carried out a series of suicide bombings in Sanaa in March 2015.
5. On request of President Hadi, the coalition comprising of five Gulf Arab states and Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan are launching air strikes on Houthi targets.
6. The security forces have split loyalties, some supporting the President and the rest, the Houthis and the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh,
7. Predominantly Sunni south of the country by militia known as Popular Resistance Committees and local tribesmen supporting President Hadi.
Events of India’s rescue operation “Operation Rahat” as it happened.
As MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, it is not just the intent and capabilities but also the diplomatic space to manoeuvre in such a complex situation has been a key to India’s success in the diplomatic tightrope walk. Also, India was the only country to launch the rescue operations of this scale and size and that is why the other countries are seeking India’s help. Great isn’t it?
The series of events of “Operation Rahat” are recorded as follow. Approximately there were 3500-4000 Indians in Yemen.
- On March 25th, 2015, once again all the Indian nationals were advised again to leave Yemen by commercial flights as security situation is fragile. Earlier calls were made on 21 January 2015 and 19 March 2015, as shown in below pic.
- On March 26th, India assessing evolving situation in Yemen. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj talks to Indian envoy Amrit Lugun about welfare of Indian community. She holds inter-ministerial meeting and examines the options available to the Government to assist Indian nationals in Yemen in the current fragile security situation.
- On March 28th, 80 Indians left Sanaa on Yemenia Airways to Djibouti. See the map above.
- On March 29th, India sent INS Mumbai ship with the capacity of 1500 passengers for rescue operations.
- On March 30th, EA Minister Sushma Swaraj & MoS V K Singh discusses all eventualities of evacuation from Yemen and plans for evacuation of Indians. India starts evacuation effort by sea to repatriate nationals from Yemen. PM Modi and King Salman discuss situation in Yemen telephonically. India is assured of all help to evacuate our nationals safely.
- On March 31st. the former Army Chief and MOS himself, Gen VK Singh heads to Djibouti to oversee India’s efforts there to evacuate Indian nationals from Yemen.
Landed at Djibuti at 5 AM local time to ensure smooth evacuation of our people from Yemen.
— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) April 1, 2015
You are safe now. Minister of State @Gen_VKSingh greets Indian nationals evacuated from Aden to Djibouti. pic.twitter.com/5y0kyF8kbS — Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) April 1, 2015
- On April 1, INS Sumitra evacuated 348 Indian Nationals from Aden to Djibouti, and from disembark 168 Indians brought home to Kochi and 180 were brought home to Mumbai by C17 Globemaster III aircraft of IAF.
Braving the weather with high spirits. Indian nationals evacuated from Aden now in Djibouti. Will be home tonight. pic.twitter.com/kiIEGmH1CH
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) April 1, 2015
- Images of the rescue operations “Operation Rahat”, click to enlarge.
- On April 2, 300+ Indians were evacuated from Yemen in INS Sumitra. 35 Indians crossed over to Saudi Arabia from Yemen were assisted to return to India.
#YemenEvacuation Kochi airport after the C-17 aircraft of IAF arrived with 168 Indian passengers from Djibouti. pic.twitter.com/htsvedP9Xu — Sitanshu Kar (@SpokespersonMoD) April 2, 2015
- On April 3rd, the evacuation continues, Gen. V K Singh shuttled between Sana’a and Djibouti. Here are some pics, click to enlarge
- On April 4th, all evacuated from Sana’a to Djibouti depart for home. AI 777 leaves Djibouti for Kochi with 322 passengers. In a humanitarian effort, along with Indians 179 others from 17 countries evacuated from Aden yesterday in INS Mumbai.
- Planning of evacuation in a meeting chaired by MOS VK Singh
- Number of foreigners, who were evacuated on humanitarian grounds.
- On April 5th, Air India was successful in 3 flights out of Sana’a 488 Indians evacuated via air route this day. Largest evacuation took place.
Watch these videos, to hear the experiences of the people
We are proud of the Indian Navy – hear it from those evacuated by INS Mumbai from Yemen. http://t.co/W08xmATk8X
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) April 5, 2015
We never missed anybody …they made us feel so comfortable…… every body agrees – Feedback on deck of INS Mumbai http://t.co/rDd6jnQjPm — Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) April 5, 2015
- 800+ of Indian citizens come home, Also 200+ from 25 countries gone to their homes in other lands.
- On April 6th, 1000+ were evacuated from Yemen 574 by 3 flights ex Sana’a by Air India 479 by INS Mumbai ex Al Hudaydah. More than 26 countries including requested India’s help to evacuate their citizens.
- On April 7th, 1000 more people came back to India through 5 flights.
- On April 8th, the last day for evacuation, so MEA issued notice online requesting all the remaining Indians to leave Yemen as early as possible.
This will go down the history as one of the successful operation to rescue the Indians stranded in war zones. All Credits to PMO, MEA, MOD, Indian Airforce and Indian Navy. While there are heaps of praises coming from the foreign media, some of our own Media houses showed their petty minds in this issue too. Special mention to Minister Sushma Swaraj and MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, who responded stranded people’s SOS tweets in twitter and facilitated their safe return. Go through their twitter timeline to see their efforts.
Social Media help. Good Job Minister!
Praises for the “Rahat” of Indian Forces. Proud moment!
Our evacuation efforts in Yemen reflect willingness to serve our people & readiness to help others in distress, which is India's ethos.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 6, 2015
Let the peace prevail in the world. Jai Hind!
This is the fourth evacuation operation (after Ukraine, Libya and Iraq) carried out by Modi Government after coming to power on May 2014. Sadly, our media does not have time to appreciate the Government. They are busy manufacturing fake outrages as per their agenda.
Image courtesy: MEA, MOD social media accounts.