Safe evacuation of Indians from Sudan days after PMO meet, Jaishankar’s call to Saudi counterpart

23 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Saudi counterpart National

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a high-level meeting to review Sudan's security situation on Friday.

66 citizens from 12 countries were evacuated from conflict-torn Sudan to Saudi Arabia, including some Indians. The evacuation occurred just days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke with his Saudi counterpart, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a high-level meeting to review Sudan’s security situation on Friday.

In a statement, the Saudi Arabia ministry announced the “safe arrival” of 91 Saudi citizens and approximately 66 nationals from the following countries: Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso. Sudan is experiencing violence as a result of clashes between the army and paramilitary forces. Even though there is a 72-hour ceasefire, there have been reports of violence.

The statement read, “In the implementation of the directives of the Kingdoms Leadership, we are pleased to announce the safe arrival of the citizens of the Kingdom who were evacuated from the Republic of Sudan as well as several nationals of brotherly and friendly countries, including diplomats and international officials, who arrived in an evacuation operation carried out by the Royal Saudi Naval Forces with the support of various branches of the armed forces.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a high-level meeting via video conference to assess the security situation in Sudan. During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi assessed the most recent developments in Sudan and received an on-the-ground report, with a particular emphasis on the safety of over 3,000 Indian citizens currently located throughout the country.

The Prime Minister expressed his condolences on the death of an Indian national who was killed by a stray bullet last week.

Prime Minister Modi directed that all relevant officials remain vigilant, closely monitoring developments and continuously assessing the safety of Indian nationals in Sudan and extending all possible assistance to them. The Prime Minister also directed the development of contingency evacuation plans, taking into account the rapidly changing security landscape and the viability of various options.

The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of maintaining close communication with neighboring countries in the region, as well as those with a large number of Sudanese citizens. Previously, Jaishankar met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York on April 20 to discuss developments in Sudan.

“We had a very good meeting. Most of our meeting was on the Sudan situation. We also discussed the G20, and Ukraine conflict, but essentially it was about Sudan,” Jaishankar told ANI.

According to Jaishankar, the Indian government is in constant contact with its citizens who are stranded in Sudan.

“Our team in Delhi is in continuous touch with the Indians in Sudan, advising them, saying we know it’s very difficult for everybody but keep calm and don’t take unnecessary risk. I hope that the efforts will yield something very soon,” the EAM said.

Fighting has erupted between forces loyal to Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

The conflict began in 2021, when a coup between Sudan’s military leader and his deputy on the ruling council erupted, destabilizing a plan for a civilian democracy following the fall of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Elections were scheduled to take place by the end of 2023.