What's the article about?
- It talks about India's efforts to rescue Indian citizens in conflict-torn Sudan.
- GS2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora;
- India launched a rescue operation – Operation Kaveri – to evacuate its stranded citizens from Sudan.
- Sudan has been facing a conflict between the country’s army and a paramilitary group for the last 10 days, which claimed more than 427 lives including at least 273 civilians and over 3,700 have been wounded.
- The warring factions have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire beginning from today as Western, Arab and Asian nations race to evacuate their nationals from the country.
What is the Sudan Crisis?
- The conflict in Sudan has its roots in the overthrowing of long-serving President Omar al-Bashir by military generals in April 2019, following widespread protests.
- This led to an agreement between the military and protesters, under which a power-sharing body called the Sovereignty Council was established to lead Sudan to elections at the end of 2023.
- However, the military overthrew the transitional government led by Abdalla Hamdok in October 2021, with Burhan becoming the de-facto leader of the country and Dagalo his second-in-command.
- Soon after the 2021 coup, a power struggle between two military (SAF) and paramilitary (RSF) generals arose, interrupting a plan to transition to elections.
- Thus, at present Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are fighting each other.
- The Operation Kaveri, which involves the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, is being coordinated by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- India has been coordinating efforts with other countries that have the most civilians and resources in Sudan, including the U.S., the U.K., the UAE and Saudi Arabia, on logistics, timing the evacuation operations, and even using Saudi and French planes.
- En route to the Caribbean for a scheduled visit, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also met with the UN Secretary General in New York to seek help.
- It is clear that military personnel, officials and diplomats will have a difficult few days ahead given that even humanitarian workers and ambulances have been attacked.
Challenges for India:
- The Sudan evacuation brings once more into focus the particular challenges that India faces in any conflict.
- With about 14 million non-resident Indians and more than seven million tourists and travellers each year, there is practically no conflict today that does not affect an Indian citizen.
- Given that many work in the most dangerous environments — examples being students in Ukraine, nurses in Iraq or Yemen, or labourers in Libya, Syria and Lebanon — the responsibility of the government to help those without the means to return to safety is greater.
- As a result, a standard operating procedure, and even possibly a special force to deal with such crises — as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee for External Affairs, in 2022 — must be considered by the government.
- It is also essential that such crises be devoid of political grand-standing or finger-pointing, and that unseemly public spats over the evacuation, or unnecessary controversies over garnering domestic political mileage be avoided.
- India is admired for its reputation and ability to harness all its resources in rescuing every single citizen in any corner of the world, every time they are in need. That reputation must remain intact.