India tonight got permission to dock its ship at the Aden harbour for the evacuation of nearly 400 Indians from the sea port city as the government launched a massive air and sea evacuation operation for its over 4,000 nationals in strife-torn Yemen.
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh headed for Djibouti, a country neighbouring Yemen, to oversee the evacuation exercise christened ‘Operation Raahat’ under which a total of five ships and four aircraft have been deployed.
“INS Sumitra is in Aden harbour. Evacuation of our nationals was underway,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said.
Defence sources said INS Sumitra was diverted from its anti-piracy mission in Gulf of Aden to rescue nearly 400 Indians in the port city of Aden.
Two warships have also been pressed into service besides two other passenger ships while the Indian Air Force has put on stand-by two C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
Air India has also stationed two 180-seater Airbus A320 planes in Muscat for evacuation of Indians from Yemen’s capital Sanaa to Djibouti whenever a clearance is given by the concerned authorities.
The Defence sources said four ships, including destroyer INS Mumbai and stealth frigate INS Tarkash — will reach Yemen by Saturday. Two merchant vessels – Kavaratti and Coral – have also been dispatched.
The four ships are to join each other in Arabian Sea on April 2 and proceed as a composite group to Djibouti.
The two 180-seater aircraft dispatched by Air India yesterday remain stuck in the Oman capital Muscat due to want of clearance from the authorities.