The work of bringing stranded Indians to the violence-torn African country of Sudan is going on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is doing everything possible to bring all Indians to safety. Indian Air Force has rescued 121 Indians from a small airstrip in Sudan. A pregnant woman is also included in these.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) rescued Indian nationals from a small dilapidated airstrip at Wadi Sayyedna, about 40 km north of Khartoum in Sudan, on the intervening night of April 27 and 28. These passengers had no means to reach Port Sudan. Hence IAF carried out this daring operation.
An Indian Air Force convoy led by the Indian Defense Attaché (IDA) arrived at the airstrip. The airstrip was rough. There was neither a navigational approach aid nor fuel and landing lights. These landing lights are essential for guiding the landing of an aircraft at night.
The Indian Air Force used a C-130J in this operation and Group Captain Ravi Nanda was its captain. The crew of the C-130J aircraft used electro-optical/infrared sensors to check for any obstructions on the runway. Used Night Vision Goggles (NVG) to deal with the darkness.
The aircrew then adopted a tactical approach, using Night Vision Goggles (NVG) for the dark and landed the aircraft. During this the engine of the aircraft continued to run. At the same time, 8 Garuda commandos of the Indian Air Force kept the passengers and their luggage in the aircraft and took off with the help of this technique.
The Air Force officer said, “This daring operation of about 2.5 hours between Wadi Sayyedna and Jeddah will be recorded in the history of the Indian Air Force. This operation was like Kabul operation. In fact, after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the Indian Air Force had conducted similar operations to evacuate Indians from Kabul.
Group Captain Ravi Nanda was earlier awarded the gallantry medal for rescuing Indians from Afghanistan under Operation Devi Shakti. At present, India is running Operation Kaveri to evacuate Indians from Sudan. Under this operation, 1360 people from Sudan have been brought safely to India so far.
Operation Ganga was started in the year 2022 to evacuate Indian students trapped in Ukraine amid the Russo-Ukraine war. During this also the Indian Air Force played an important role. Thousands of Indians were evacuated from Ukraine after the successful operation.
Prior to this, a similar daring operation was carried out during the Iraq-Kuwait war. Actually, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein had attacked Kuwait in 1990. Lakhs of Indians were trapped in Kuwait. Then the government of Vishwanath Pratap Singh (VP Singh) had evacuated 1.70 lakh Indian citizens safely by running ‘Operation Kuwait’.
Air India took the first flight on 8 August 1990 to bring these Indians. After evacuating 1 lakh 70 thousand people through 488 flights, the last flight came to India on 20 October 1990. This operation of India was the biggest airlift operation in the history so far. It has also been included in the Guinness Book of World Records.