A week into the uncertain security situation in Sudan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday directed officials to prepare contingency evacuation plansfor about 3,000 Indian citizens stuck in the conflict-ridden country.
The US, UK, Germany, Spain, Japan and South Korea are among the countries that are moving in to evacuate their citizens from Sudan.
Also Read | As violence rages in Sudan, 31 tribals from Karnataka stuck: ‘Running out of food, water’
Modi, who chaired a high-level meeting via video-conferencing to review the security situation in Sudan, told the officials to prepare “contingency evacuation plans, accounting for the rapidly shifting security landscape and the viability of various options”, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Friday. The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (who joined from Guyana), National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Ambassador to Sudan B S Mubarak among others.
During the meeting, the PMO said, “Prime Minister Modi assessed the most recent developments in Sudan and received a first-hand report of the conditions on the ground, with specific focus on the safety of over 3,000 Indian citizens presently located throughout the country.”
The statement said the Prime Minister “instructed all relevant officials to remain vigilant, closely monitoring developments and continuously evaluating the safety of Indian nationals in Sudan and extending them all possible assistance”.Also Read | Stray bullet kills 48-yr-old man from Kerala in Sudan
Modi expressed “his condolences on the passing away of an Indian national who tragically fell victim to a stray bullet last week”, it said.
He emphasised the importance of maintaining close communication with neighboring countries in the region, as well as those with significant numbers of citizens in Sudan.Advertisement
According to officials, the Indian embassy in Khartoum is located just opposite the airport, and there has been shelling in that area as well.
Sudan has been witnessing deadly fighting between the country’s regular army and a paramilitary group called Rapid Support Forces for the past one week.So far, 413 people have been killed and 3,551 others wounded in the violence, according to the latest toll from the World Health Organisation.
Jaishankar, who met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York Thursday, has also spoken to his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt to discuss the situation in the country.Advertisement
Discussing the worsening situation in Sudan with Guterres, Jaishankar underscored the need for “successful diplomacy”, which can lead to an early ceasefire and create the ground situation for the safety and welfare of the people in the strife-torn African nation.
“India strongly supports efforts towards an early ceasefire, leading to creation of safe corridors. Will continue to work closely with the UN and other partners in this regard,” he said.
India had said Thursday that the situation in Sudan is “very tense” and that it is focusing on ensuring the safety and well-being of the Indian community, including working on contingency plans and possible evacuation.
New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the developments in Sudan besides being in touch with relevant countries, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing, adding that any evacuation plan will depend on the ground situation.Also Read | World Food Programme halts operations in Sudan after 3 employees killed
“We are ready to take multiple options. There are contingency plans. We are in close touch with our teams on the ground. But it will all depend on how long there is a pause in the fighting or a ceasefire; where it is happening, what is available in terms of locations where we can safely take people away,” he said.Advertisement
Government sources said India is coordinating closely with various countries to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals in Sudan.Most Read 1 Gadar 2 box office collection day 4: Sunny Deol film records biggest Monday collections of all time, nets a total of Rs 173 cr 2 Bigg Boss OTT 2 Finale Live Updates: Elvish Yadav wins Salman Khan’s show, Abhishek Malhan shares message from hospital 3 Happy Independence Day 2023: Wishes Images, Whatsapp Messages, Status, Quotes, and Photos 4 OMG 2 box office collection day 4: Pankaj Tripathi-Akshay Kumar film delivers better Monday than opening Friday, earns Rs 55.1 cr 5 Jailer box office collection Day 5: Rajinikanth film set to cross Rs 350-crore mark worldwide on Independence Day
“The quartet countries of US, UK, Saudi Arabia and UAE have a key role and we are engaging them accordingly. The External Affairs Minister has spoken to counterparts in Saudi Arabia and UAE. Both have assured practical support on the ground. Our Ambassador in Washington DC and High Commissioner in London are in touch with their respective host governments. We are also working with the UN, which has a substantial presence in Sudan,” the source said.Advertisement
In New Delhi, the source said, “We have set up a dedicated Control Room. We are in continuous touch with our embassy in Khartoum and are getting regular reports of the status of the Indian community. The embassy in turn is in touch with the community and individuals through multiple methods including WhatsApp groups.”Also ReadNarendra Modi Independence Day Speech Live Updates: India now identified ...Govt SOP for Judges: Do not name officials for court panelsShivaji statue vandalised in Goa, police initiate inquiry‘Will return to Red Fort next year’: In Independence Day speech, PM Modi ...
“The situation on the street is very tense and movement is very risky at this stage. Our priority is safety of movement and well-being of individuals wherever they are located. While both the ministry and the embassy are continuously monitoring the situation, concerns of safety and security constrain us from putting out specific details,” the source said.© The Indian Express (P) Ltd