KHARTOUM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting today to review the security situation in Sudan via video-conferencing, asking officials to prepare contingency evacuation plans for Indians stranded in the country.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Ambassador of India to Sudan Ravindra Prasad Jaiswal and several other senior officials were present at the meeting.
PM Modi assessed the most recent developments in Sudan and received a first-hand report of the conditions on the ground, with specific focus on the safety of over 3,000 Indian citizens presently located throughout the country, a government statement said.
The Prime Minister expressed his condolences on the passing away of an Indian national who tragically fell victim to a stray bullet last week.
PM Modi instructed officials to remain vigilant, closely monitoring developments and continuously evaluating the safety of Indian nationals in Sudan and extending them all possible assistance.
The Prime Minister also emphasised the importance of maintaining close communication with neighbouring countries in the region, as well as those with significant numbers of citizens in Sudan.
Earlier today, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the worsening situation in Sudan with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The government says the situation in Sudan is “very tense” and it is focusing on ensuring the safety and well-being of the Indian community, including working on contingency plans and possible evacuation.
More than 300 people have been killed as the country’s army and paramilitary forces battle, ignoring appeals by world powers for an end-of-Ramadan ceasefire.
Sudan’s capital Khartoum has seen some of the fiercest fighting with air strikes and tanks firing in densely packed districts, with most of its five million people sheltering at home in baking heat without electricity, food or water. Communications are heavily disrupted.
Medics have warned of a catastrophe, especially in Khartoum, where many hospitals were reportedly caught in the crossfire.
Up to 70 percent of the hospitals in Khartoum and neighbouring states have been rendered “out of service” by the fighting, the doctors’ union said.
It has warned the numbers of deaths is likely to be far higher than stated, with many wounded unable to reach hospitals.
Several countries’ evacuation plans have been put on hold, with the US Defense Department announcing Thursday that it was deploying forces “nearby in the region” with hopes of “securing and potentially facilitating the departure of US Embassy personnel from Sudan”.