Yemen Crisis: India Rescued Almost 2,000 Foreign Nationals, Says Sushma Swaraj

20/04/2015 4:06 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Indians evacuated from Yemen sit inside the Indian Air Force C17 Globemaster aircraft upon their arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, Thursday, April 2, 2015. India is evacuating its citizens from Yemen amid the growing violence in the Middle Eastern country. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India, Mitesh Bhuvad)

NEW DELHI — About 1,947 foreign nationals from 48 countries have been rescued from Yemen by India, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said at Lok Sabha today.

"I am glad to inform this August House that operation 'Raahat' conducted for the evacuation of Indian nationals from war-torn Yemen has been a resounding success, well-acknowledged by the international community," she said. "We not only managed to safely evacuate 4,741 Indians but also 1,947 foreign nationals from 48 countries till April 18 under most difficult circumstances."

The situation at Yemen in worsening by the day, she said, prompting the ministry to shift the Indian embassy from capital city Sana'a to Djibouti last Wednesday. The embassy would continue to operate until the crisis in Yemen abates.

Swaraj said that following India's success with the quick evacuation of its nationals from Yemen, 33 countries reached out to India requesting assistance in evacuation of their own nationals. These countries include both neighbouring nations as well as their western counterparts.

"We responded positively to these requests to the extent possible based on ground realities and helped nationals of 48 countries in evacuation," Swaraj said.

India assisted nationals of Pakistan, the US, the UK, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Canada, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Maldives, Morocco, Myanmar, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Somalia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, the UAE, Uganda, Ukraine and Yemen.

While more than half of the Indians rescued from Yemen hailed from Kerala, the rest of them belonged to 26 other states across the country.

Swaraj was all praises for retired General V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, who personally supervised the evacuation efforts in Djibouti and shuttled between Sana'a and Djibouti "sparing no effort to accomplish this difficult task". Singh "did not work as a minister but as a General", said Swaraj.

(with PTI inputs)

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