India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar spoke with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to assess the situation in Sudan where two factions of the military are fighting for control.
Several Indians are trapped in Sudanese capital of Khartoum and other cities after a battle broke out between rival military factions for control of the North African country. The Sudanese army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is fighting the paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, reported Al Jazeera.
On April 16, the Indian embassy in Sudan had said that one Indian, identified as Albert Augestine, died after he was hit by a stray bullet.
Jaishankar spoke with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan and AB Zayed in United Arab Emirates.
As large-scale violence erupted in Khartoum, the Indian embassy in Sudan had issued advisories and also set up a control room at the Ministry of External Affairs.
On Tuesday, the Indian embassy advised the citizens not to go outside as several incidents of looting had been reported in the country. “Please ration your supplies,” the Indian embassy in Sudan said. “The situation may continue for a few more days. Please try to take help from your neighbours. Please stay at home and remain safe.”
Twitter spat between Congress’ K Siddaramaiah and Jaishankar
Meanwhile, former Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah and Jaishankar got into a spat on Tuesday as the Congress leader urged the Centre to immediately intervene and ensure safe return of 31 Adivasis stuck in El-Fasher city of the North African country.
The Congress leader alleged that members of the Hakki Pikki community in Sudan have been stranded in Sudan without food for the last few days and the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre is yet to take action to bring them back.
Soon after Siddaramaiah tweeted asking for the safe return of the 31 Adivasis, Jaishankar accused the Congress leader of politicising the matter.
“Simply appalled at your tweet,” Jaishankar said on Tuesday. “There are lives at stake; don’t do politics. Since the fighting started on April 14th, the Embassy of India in Khartoum has been continuously in touch with most Indian Nationals and PIOs [Persons of Indian Origin] in Sudan.”
The minister said that movement of Indian nationals in Sudan is constrained by fierce fighting.
“Plans regarding them have to take into account a very complicated security scenario,” the minister said. “The embassy is in constant touch with the Ministry in that regard. It is grossly irresponsible of you to politicise their situation. No electoral goal justifies endangering Indians abroad.”
Siddaramaiah’s demand comes weeks before Karanataka Assembly polls, which are to be held on May 10.
Siddaramaiah responded to Jaishankar’s tweet saying that he had merely appealed to the minister to expedite the return of Hakki Pikkis.
“Since you are the external affairs minister, I have appealed you for help,” the politician tweeted. “If you are busy getting appalled please point us to the person who can help us bring our people back.”