New Delhi: Amid intense efforts to evacuate stranded Indians from strife-torn Yemen, the government is sending Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh to Djibouti on Tuesday to supervise the operations.
Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry, Syed Akbaruddin, said Monday night that VK Singh will leave for Djibouti on Tuesday to supervise the evacuation efforts amid concern in the government over the safety of Indians.
At an inter-ministerial meeting last night which was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, it was decided to evacuate at least 400 nationals from Aden by sea routes.
The sea route option was explored after government’s plans to airlift the stranded Indians failed to materialise in view of the attack on the Sanaa airport. It was decided that a local ship with the capacity of ferrying 400 passengers will be used to transfer all the Indians in Aden to Djibouti, where they will reach today morning.
There are about 300 to 400 Indians in Aden.
In Djibouti, the Indian nationals will be assisted by senior diplomats and their return to India will be on two large military transport C-17 Globemaster aircraft.
Meanwhile, 80 Indians who had left from Yemen on Saturday for Djibouti, have returned to their respective states.
After being granted permission to fly from Sanaa, India had sent two Air India planes. However, because of the attack on the Yemen airport, the planes were at the airport in Muscat.
"As and when it is possible to use air services through Sanaa, we will press Air India flights to assist the Indians," the spokesperson said.
He further said that India was in touch with the regional leaders in this "difficult situation" while maintaining that all Indians were unharmed so far.
Asked if the Indian embassy would be shut as was done by many countries, he said as long as "our nationals need assistance, the mission will be there".
Meanwhile, two passenger ships belonging to Lakshadweep administration with the total capacity of 1,500 passengers left for Djibouti port from Kochi Monday morning to evacuate Indians, the spokesperson said, adding that the ships will take at least five to seven days to reach their destination.
The government has also pressed into service INS Sumitra, which was in the region, to ensure the safety and security of the ship's passengers from pirates, the spokesperson said, adding that Indian Navy has also deployed INS Mumbai and INS Turkush.
He also ruled out that there was any land option available as of now.
This is the fourth major evacuation which the Indian government has undertaken. The first three were in Ukraine, Iraq and Libya.
(With PTI inputs)