IAF C-17 undertakes 24-hour special tactical operation to rescue Indians from Sudan

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NEW DELHI: In the midnight hours of May 3-4, 2023, an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 Globemaster aircraft, airborne from Hindan air base, flew through the night to land in the early morning hours at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The aircraft refuelled at Jeddah to undertake a nonstop flight from Jeddah via war-torn Sudan and back to India.

The aircraft took excess fuel from Jeddah to avoid a situation of non-availability of fuel and refuelling delays in Sudan. The mission was one of a kind, with the aircraft carrying 192 passengers, mostly women, children and elderly persons, who were either NRIs, foreign nationals or OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India).

These people were not permitted a landing at Jeddah and hence were required to be flown directly to India in a nonstop flight by the heavy jet.

At Sudan, the aircraft carried out an overhead steep tactical arrival followed by an assault approach to land the heavy jet. During the entire duration of the ground operations, the aircraft engines were kept running in readiness for a quick exit from the airfield, in case of such a need arose.

The crew encountered another unplanned emergency when one of the passengers became unconscious during the flight. This situation was immediately and proficiently handled by the crew who administered him 100 per cent oxygen to stabilise him.

The aircraft landed at Ahmedabad late in the evening on May 4, and then at the home base of Hindan late in the night on the same day. The crew thus flew through extended duty periods of nearly 24 hours to get some of the last stranded countrymen back to India.

So far, more than 3,500 people have returned to their homeland under Operation Kaveri, which was run to evacuate Indians trapped in Sudan. Operation Kaveri came to a close on Friday.

“Today (May 5), we closed down the transit facility created at the International Indian School Jeddah @IndianPage for Sudan evacuees during #OperationKaveri. The facility provided comfort to more than 3,500 evacuees & served as the nerve centre for planning their onward movement to India”, tweeted Indian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “Prime Minister @narendramodi ‘s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all Indians abroad was our inspiration”, tweeted External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

An Indian Air Force C130 J flight carrying 47 passengers landed in India on Friday. With this arrival, 3,862 persons have been moved out of Sudan through Operation Kaveri. Moving passengers to Port Sudan from various locations across the country in precarious security circumstances was a complex exercise.

“Via 17 Indian Air Force flights and five Indian Navy Ship sorties, our people were moved from Port Sudan to safety in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 86 nationals were evacuated through the countries bordering Sudan. The flight from Wadi Sayyidna which was executed at great risk also deserves recognition. From Jeddah, the airforce and commercial flights have brought people home. We are grateful to Saudi Arabia for hosting them and facilitating this process”, tweeted Jaishankar.

He also appreciated the support of Chad, Egypt, France, South Sudan, the UAE, the UK, the US and the UN and recognised the contribution of Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, whose presence on the ground was a source of strength and reassurance.

“Applaud the spirit, perseverance and courage of all those involved in #OperationKaveri. Our Embassy in Khartoum showed exceptional dedication in this difficult time. Efforts by #TeamIndia stationed in Saudi Arabia and MEA Rapid Response Cell coordinating in India were commendable”, tweeted Jaishankar. (ANI)

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