VK Singh leads 'Operation Sankat Mochan' to evacuate Indians from South Sudan
India has sent two C-17 military transport aircraft to Juba to evacuate Indians from South Sudan.
New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Thursday left for South Sudan leading the government's 'Operation Sankat Mochan' to evacuate over 300 Indians stranded in the war-torn African country.
India has sent two C-17 military transport aircraft to Juba to evacuate Indians.
VK Singh, who is leading the evacuation mission, is accompanied by Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, Joint Secretary Satbir Singh and Director Anjani Kumar.
— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) July 13, 2016
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) July 14, 2016
India's Ambassador in South Sudan Srikumar Menon and his team are organising the operation on the ground.
There are around 500 Indians in South Sudan.
The aircraft were expected to land at 11 am and Indian nationals with valid travel documents would be allowed boarding with maximum five kg cabin baggage and no check-in pieces.
Women and children will be accommodated on priority.
The return flights would be only up to New Delhi.
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar had on July 12 tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take speedy measures for evacuation of Indians stuck in Juba, South Sudan.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday evening ordered a ceasefire after days of heavy fighting between government troops and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar in Juba.
President Kiir directed all commanders to cease all hostilities, control their forces and protect civilians, Information Minister Michael Makuei said in a televised speech on the state broadcaster SSTV.
The ceasefire took effect at 6 pm on Monday and any member of the Machar-led forces who surrendered must also be protected, Makuei said.
The latest bout of violence started on July 7 after a localised gunfight outside Kiir's residence in Juba when he was holding a meeting with Machar.