New Delhi — India launched a massive operation to rescue 350 nationals from strife-torn Yemen's southern port city of Aden late on Tuesday. Those evacuated included 220 men, 101 women and 28 children.
The evacuated people will now be taken to Djibouti, a country neighbouring Yemen, and will be brought to India by air. An official said the ship "sailed into a barrage of bombs" to evacuate Indians stranded there. Under an operation named "Op Raahat", two warships -- destroyer INS Mumbai and stealth frigate INS Tarkash -- are on their way to Djibouti, a country located on the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden.
The two warships and two passenger liners Kavaratti and Corals, which left from Kochi on Monday, will join course in the Arabian Sea and move as a composite group to Djibouti. According to the external affairs ministry, nearly 4,000 Indians are stranded in Yemen. The evacuation operation took place in dark night conditions amid the escalating violence in Yemen.
"INS Sumitra has left the Aden harbour and around 350 Indians embarked on the ship," Defence sources said. Evacuation took place after India got permission to dock its ship at the Aden harbour as the government launched a massive air and sea evacuation operation for its over 4,000 nationals.
Air India has 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 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.
Saudi-led coalition warplanes pounded Yemen's Shiite rebels for a sixth day today, destroying missiles and weapons depots and for the first time using warships to bomb the rebel-held airport and eastern outskirts of the port city of Aden.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj briefed the Union Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, about the government's efforts to rescue Indian citizens trapped in strife-torn Yemen.
"The issue of Indians trapped in Yemen was discussed in great detail in the Cabinet. The External Affairs Minister briefed the Cabinet on it. Government of India has worked very effectively in this matter.
"She briefed in detail about the steps taken by the government," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters at the Cabinet briefing.