As soon as he landed in Juba, South Sudan on Thursday, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh immediately got down to rescue stranded Indians from the country in the middle of a civil war.
MoS Gen (Retd) V.K. Singh landed in Juba to oversee the rescue mission. MEA
Dubbed Operation Sankat Mochan, the rescue mission is now in full swing. The Indian mission in Juba had already informed all Indians in the country to be prepared for evacuation on July 14.
After he landed with one of the two IAF C17 Globemaster aircrafts, Singh met South Sudanese foreign affairs minister, Deng Alor Kuol.
Indian troops who are part of United Nations Mission In the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) have joined in the rescue efforts.
MoS Gen (Retd) V.K. Singh meeting Indian troops stationed in Juba as part of the UN force. MEA
The two aircraft left at 5 am on July 14 from India with Singh and some other officials.
Around 600 Indians are trapped in the country, including 450 in Juba alone.
“The situation in South Sudan deteriorated suddenly in the past three days. We have constituted a task force to constantly study the emerging situation in South Sudan and to closely tab on the occurrences there. The task force held a meeting in the morning,” Swaraj told ANI. This is the second time Singh has been tasked with the evacuation of Indians from a strife-torn country. He previously led the immensely successful Operation Raahat under which over 5,600 people were evacuatd from Yemen.
What is happening in Juba?
Forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir are at war with forces loyal to the Vice-President Riek Machar. Their long-time rivalry escalated in 2013 when Kiir removed Machar from his post. Machar began an insurgency that eventually turned into street battles leading to the chaos that engulfs the country now. Both the forces are fighting in the capital city though a ceasefire has been ordered and Machar’s troops have removed themselves from the capital. South Sudan became a separate country from the Muslim-dominated Sudan in 2011.