Operation Raahat

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Operation Raahat
Part of the Aftermath of the 2014–15 Yemeni coup d'état and the Yemeni Crisis
INS Sumitra at Aden port in 2015.jpg
INS Sumitra in port at Aden during operation
Operational scopeHumanitarian relief
Planned byIndian Armed Forces and the Ministry of External Affairs
Commanded byGeneral V K Singh (Retired)
ObjectiveEvacuation of Indian citizens from Yemen
Date1 April 2015 (2015-04-01) – 11 April 2015 (2015-04-11)[1]
Executed byIndian Armed Forces and Air India
OutcomeMore than 5600 people (4640 Indian citizens and 960 foreign nationals) evacuated[1][2]

Operation Raahat (Hindi: राहत Rāhata, lit. "Relief") was an operation of the Indian Armed Forces to evacuate Indian citizens and foreign nationals from Yemen during the 2015 military intervention by Saudi Arabia and its allies in that country during the Yemeni Crisis.[3] The evacuation by sea started on 1 April 2015 from Aden port. The air evacuation was started by the Indian Air Force and Air India on 3 April 2015 from Sana'a. More than 4640 Indian citizens in Yemen were evacuated along with 960 foreign nationals of 41 countries.[2] The air evaculation ended on 9 April 2015 while the evacuation by sea ended on 11 April 2015.[1][4][5]

Background[edit]

The 2015 military intervention in Yemen began on 27 March 2015 when the Royal Saudi Air Force led a coalition of Arab states in attacking the Shiite Houthi rebels.[6] This was preceded by weeks of turmoil during which the Houthi guerrillas toppled the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and took over the large parts of the country.

Anticipating further hostilities, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had issued advisories on 21 January 2015 to Indian expatriates in Yemen to leave the country.[7] A second travel advisory urging Indians to avoid travel to Yemen, and to leave the country was issued on 20 February 2015.[8][9] Finally on 25 March, two days before the attack by the Arab coalition, the MEA issued an urgent advisory urging all Indian citizens to evacuate as soon as possible.[10] However, more than 5000 Indian citizens had not heeded the warnings and were trapped in Yemen.

Response[edit]

Indian evacuees lining up for embarkation on INS Sumitra.
Indian evacuees along with their belongings at jetty before embarking on INS Sumitra.

As Yemen was not accessible due to a no-fly zone, India chose Djibouti as a centre for initial evacuation by sea. Indians in Yemen were advised to reach Sana'a and Aden. The Indian Navy redeployed the patrol vessel INS Sumitra (P59) from anti-piracy operations off the coast of Lakshadweep to the Yemeni port of Aden. In addition, it dispatched the destroyer INS Mumbai (D62) and frigate INS Tarkash (F50) from Mumbai to provide protection and support to Indian ships and aircraft in the conflict zone. Both sailed 1,350 nautical miles (2,500 km) in four days to reach Yemen. The Indian Air Force deployed two C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft with a capacity of 600 passengers to Djibouti.[11][12]

Two ferries belonging to the Lakshadweep administration, MV Kavaratti and MV Corals, with a capacity of 1,500 passengers were dispatched to Aden.[13][14] In addition, two Airbus A320 aircraft of Air India were also deployed to Muscat in neighboring Oman.[15]

On 1 April 2015, INS Sumitra reached Aden to evacuate 349 Indians. When Air India was permitted to fly to Yemen on 3 April 2015, it started evacuating people from Sana'a to Djibouti and Djibouti to Mumbai or Kochi. Two C-17 Globemasters flew nine sorties to Mumbai and two to Kochi from Djibouti. On 4 April 2015, INS Mumbai reached Aden but was unable to dock due to shelling, so the people were ferried to the ship in small boats.[11]

Indian Navy personnel registering Indian citizens evacuating from Yemen.

Over the days more than 4,640 overseas Indians were evacuated along with 960 foreign nationals of more than 41 countries.[1][2] Some of them did not have the operational capability to carry out rescue operation so they sought help of India. These countries included: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Maldives, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, Thailand, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Out of a total of 5,600 people, 2,900 Indians were evacuated by 18 special flights from Sana'a and 1,670 Indians by Indian Navy ships from four ports.[11][16][17][18] Eleven Indians were evacuated by the Pakistan Navy frigate PNS Aslat from Mukalla reached Karachi and were later flown back to India on 8 April 2015.[5][19][16][20] The air evacuation ended on 9 April 2015 while the sea evacuation ended on 11 April 2015.[21] 200 Indians refused to leave Yemen due to various reasons.[22]

The following table gives details of evacuations carried out by the Indian Navy, but does not include air evacuations:[23]

Date of evacuation Port of evacuation Ship Arrival at Djibouti Evacuees
Indians Foreigners Total
31 March Aden Sumitra 1 April 349 0 349
2 April Al Hudaydah Sumitra 3 April 306 11 317
4 April Aden Mumbai 4 April 265 176 441
5 April Ash Shihr Sumitra 5 April 182 21 203
6 April Al Hudaydah Mumbai 6 April 463 11 474
7 April Al Hudaydah Tarkash 8 April 54 20 74
9 April Al Hudaydah Sumitra 10 April 46 303 349
10 April Aden Tarkash 11 April 42 422 464
15 April Al Hudaydah Sumitra 16 April 76 327 403
Total 1783 1291 3074

INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash returned to Mumbai harbour on 16 and 18 April 2015, respectively, after completing Operation Raahat.

MV Kavaratti and MV Corals arrived in Kochi on 18 April. The ships had helped evacuate 475 passengers including 73 Indians, 337 Bangladeshis, and 65 Yemeni citizens of Indian origin.[24]

Published accounts[edit]

Documentaries[edit]

Operation Raahat: Yemen Rescue Operation by India (Battle Ops) (2018) is a TV documentary which premièred on Veer by Discovery Channel series, Battle Ops.[25][26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "India evacuates 4,640 nationals, 960 others from Yemen". www.oneindia.com. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Kumar, Hari (10 April 2015). "India Concludes Evacuation of Its Citizens From Yemen". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. ^ "India begins evacuating citizens". The Hindu. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  4. ^ "1000 nationals from 41 countries: India's Yemen evacuation finally ends and the world is floored". Firstpost. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b "India appreciates Pakistan's gesture of evacuating its nationals from Yemen". The Times of India. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Airstrike on Yemen refugee camp could portend Saudi ground incursion". CNN. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  7. ^ wikipedia
  8. ^ "Ministry of External Affairs releases advisory against travelling to Yemen". Yahoo! News. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Helpline of Indian Embassy in Yemen and travel advisory". Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Leave strife-torn Yemen, India tells its citizens". The Hindu. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  11. ^ a b c "Explained: How India evacuated 5000 stranded in Yemen". The Indian Express. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Indian ship in periphery of Yemen waters, awaits local clearance". First Post. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  13. ^ "New Delhi will send two ships to Yemen to evacuate stranded Indians". the Times of India. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Delhi sends 2 ships to conflict-hit Yemen to evacuate Indians". The Times of India. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  15. ^ Oman, Times of (7 April 2015). "Salalah transit for Indian rescue flight from Yemen". Times of Oman. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  16. ^ a b "India evacuates 232 foreigners including Americans, Europeans from Yemen". The Times of India. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Czechs seek help from India in Yemen". PRAGUE POST | The Voice of Prague. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Twenty-six countries seek India's help to evacuate their citizens from Yemen". Dailymail. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Yemen crisis: Number of Indian evacuees reach 4000 mark". Zee News. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  20. ^ "4,000 Indians rescued so far, Yemen air evacuation op to end on Wed". hindustantimes.com. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  21. ^ "India Pulls Off Great Escape in Yemen, 4000 Evacuated From War Zone". NDTV. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Yemen: India ends Operation 'Rahat', 200 refuse to leave". Sify. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  23. ^ "IN Ships return to Hero's Welcome". indiannavy.nic.in. Indian Navy. 18 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  24. ^ "MV Kavararatti and MV Corals arrive at Kochi". indiannavy.nic.in. Indian Navy. 18 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  25. ^ "This R-Day, get ready for Discovery channel's 'Battle Ops'". The Hindu. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Operation Raahat Yemen Rescue Operation by India, Battle Ops". Veer by Discovery. Retrieved 22 April 2018.