1,350 Indians have been evacuated from Yemen and efforts are on to rescue over 2,000 others from various parts of the strife-torn country where situation has deteriorated significantly due to escalation in fighting between warring groups.
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who was overseeing the massive evacuation operation from Djibouti, had also gone to Sanaa, the largest Yemeni city from where Air India was rescuing Indians after getting permission to land. Singh has come back to Djibouti today.
Meanwhile, Navy ship INS Mumbai sent to evacuate Indians from Aden could not dock at the city port due to heavy shelling and small boats were used to ferry the people to the ship.
“There is heavy shelling in Aden. The ship is anchored 5-6 kilometres off the coast. Indian nationals are being taken by boat to board the ship there,” Swaraj said.
Official sources said the evacuation operation was going on notwithstanding the deteriorating situation across Yemen. “We hope to complete the evacuation operation in the next few days,” they said.
The sources said though security situation was becoming more precarious in Sanaa due to increasing hold of al-Qaeda, India has been given slots to carry out air sorties to take out its citizens from the city.
“Maximum slots to carry out air sorties have been given to India. We were given two slots yesterday and two slots today. We hope to continue the evacuation from Saana.”
They sought to allay fears of kidnapping of Indians in Yemen, asserting that the situation was not like that in Iraq.
The sources said Indian Navy ship Tarkash and two other commercial ships are also available for evacuation of Indians from port cities including from Al-Hudaydah.
They said India had rescued two Nepalese and three nationals each of Bangladeshi and Pakistan also from Al-Hudaydah city two days back. They said around 1,350 Indians have been evacuated so far.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said over 300 Indians have been brought back from Sanaa and reached Djibouti enroute to India.
“Two Air India flights out of Sana’a land in Djibouti today with 325 on board,” he tweeted.
The sources said situation in Sanna was serious as militants have stepped up their offensive and particularly due to movement of heavy artilleries and missiles during nights.