India stunned the world when it went into war-torn Yemen and rescued around 6,700 nationals from 41 nations. It all began when Saudi Arabia with its allies initiated military intervention into the Yemeni Crisis. Thousands of Indians and nationals from other countries were left stranded in Yemen.
To rescue these nationals, a relief operation named ‘Operation Raahat’ spearheaded by the Indian Armed Forces was launched and was commanded by General VK Singh.
The evacuation began by sea on 1 April 2015 from Aden port. The air evacuation was commenced by the Indian Air Force and Air India on 3 April 2015 from Sana’a. The air evacuation ended on 9 April 2015 while the evacuation by sea ended on 11 April 2015.
What India did under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and General VK Singh was nothing short of a superhuman feat. External Affairs Minister praised Prime Minister Modi for actively pursuing the rescue of the nationals. She said, “It was not an easy feat.”
India had even issued an advisory to its nationals in Yemen to leave the nation, but they didn’t. Prime Minister Modi’s role was probably the toughest. He had to persuade Saudi Arabia to halt firing so that India could rescue its nationals. But Prime Minister Modi was successful in persuading the Saudi King to stop firing. Both the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen even assisted India in the rescue operation.
The Indian Navyhad redeployed patrol vesselINS Sumitrafrom its anti-piracy operations off the coast of Lakshadweep to the Yemeni port of Aden. It hadalso dispatched destroyerINS Mumbai and frigateINS Tarkash from Mumbai to provide protection and support to Indian ships and aircrafts. The Indian Air Forcehad deployed two C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft with a capacity of 600 passengers to Djibouti.Two ferries belonging to the Lakshadweep administration – MV Kavaratti and MV Corals – with a capacity of 1,500 passengers were dispatched to Aden. Along with this two Airbus A320 aircraft of Air India were also deployed to Muscat.
This rescue operation will go down not only in India’s but in world history as one of the most daring and well-coordinated of operations. The effort was collective – right from the Prime Minister to our brave soldiers who initiated the rescue.
This operation revealed one crucial thing – the clout that India enjoys under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership. To be able to persuade the Saudi King and his allies into halting their military activity is a clear sign of the newfound diplomatic clout of India. Whether it be the US, Russia, Japan, the UAE, Palestine, Israel or Saudi Arabia, India enjoys burgeoning relations with almost every major power in the world today.