As many as 600 Indians are expected to be airlifted from conflict-ridden South Sudan on Thursday in a mission named Operation Sankat Mochan. Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is leading the operation, IANS reported.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had announced the Centre's plans to evacuate stranded Indians from South Sudan's capital Juba after holding an “emergency assistance meeting” to plan the rescue. Singh will be accompanied by Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry Amar Sinha, Director Anjani Kumar and Joint Secretary Satbir Singh, Swaraj said on Twitter.
Indian Ambassador to South Sudan Srikumar Menon is making arrangements with his team in Juba, where the situation has seen marginal improvement. The Union minister also thanked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Indian Air Force personnel who are carrying out the operation.
Hundreds of people have died so far in fighting between groups loyal to President Salva Kiir and others supporting Vice President Riek Machar, despite a deal signed between the two factions in August 2015. Even though both leaders had appealed for peace on Friday, July 8, after two days of violence, the groups clashed again on Sunday, July 10.