India is leader in humanitarian crisis response

Tarun Chugh
India has quickly evacuated over 3500 citizens from Sudan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency meeting soon after violence broke out in Sudan. He sent out clear message that each minute is crucial to safely evacuate the Indian citizens.
Operation Kaveriwas set in motion with INS Sumedha and INS Tarkash quickly sailing the international waters, while the Indian Air Force pressed in the service heavy transport carriers such as C-130J, C-17, etc. Indiaactivated its logistics and diplomatic assets in Saudi Arabia, and Jeddah became a point of touch for the evacuated Indians for their onward journey back home.
Except for one unfortunate death of an Indian, Albert Augestine, in Sudan, the joint efforts of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy in a close collaboration with the diplomatic corps have once more demonstrated that India has a come a long way in becoming the first responder in crisis for own people and others also. This has been made possible because of a decisive leadership, which doesn’t lose time and stays ahead in anticipating the turn of events in regions of strife.
Also, ‘Operation SankatMochan’, carried out in 2016 in South Sudan, remained a torchlight for the Indian rescue mission once more in the African nation. ‘Operation SamudraSethu in 2020’ had also brought 3992 Indian back home during the Covid-19 pandemic. By now it has been well demonstrated that Indians will not be the last but the first to be rescued, and the world noted the growing strength of the Indian passport.
True to the Indian philosophy that the world is one village, the Indian evacuation efforts don’t differentiate among the nationalities. This was acknowledged by President of France Emmanuel Macron who thanked PM Modi for rescuing and evacuating the French embassy staffers from Khartoun, the Sudanese capital.
Sudan crisis refreshed the global community of the Indian wherewithal in evacuating the people stuck in the strife-torn regions. Only recently, India carried out one of the largest rescue and evacuation mission ‘Operation Ganga’ in Ukraine. Thousands of Indian students stuck in Ukraine were evacuated safely from war-ravaged region in circumstances which tested the depth of India’s diplomatic ties with eastern European nations and also the maneuverability of the logistics.
The ministers camped in the capitals of nations bordering Ukraine, while PM Modi worked with Russian and Ukrainian leadership to even pause war for limited hours to allow the Indian students to cross over to safe zones. Along with the Indian students, India was able to evacuate and rescue scores of people of other countries. India made it clear that there comes no discrimination and distinction in service to humanity. The global community was in full praise of the scale of operation carried out by India in Ukraine. This again has been singularly made possible because of the political capital deployed in responding to humanitarian crisis in any parts of the world.
In 2015, India had carried out a largescale evacuation exercise from Yemen as part of ‘Operation Raahat’, evacuating 6710 individuals -4748 Indians and 1962 foreign nationals. Indian rescue missions have now become household names with films and web series made on them, something which earlier used to be seen only for American films.
Incidentally, Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankarhas been on record recalling PM Modi’s personal involvement in addressing the crisis in any parts of the world. Jaishankarwas pleasantly surprised when he saw PM Modi ringing him on his mobile phone late after midnight to enquire about the rescue efforts after the Indian embassy in Kabul had been attacked by terrorists. ‘Operation Devi Shakti’ evacuated Indian citizens and foreign nationals from Afghanistan after the Taliban captured the power in Kabul.
India is globally acknowledged as a country with an impeccable capabilities to respond in situations of natural disaster. Within hours of the earthquakes jolting Turkey, PM Modi had already held an emergency meeting and the special teams of the National Disaster Response Force was airborne to respond to one of the gravest tragedies in any parts of the world in the last few decades. The team of doctors, paramedic and other NDRF personnel who carried out relief works as part of ‘Operation Dost’ won the hearts of the people in Turkey with their quick response to save lives. The Indian efforts in Turkey have been rightly applauded globally for expeditious response to save lives even in situations which were too harsh in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
Such expertise of India was also seen in the wake of the Nepal earthquakes in 2015 which had left deathly trails. The Indian response with ‘Operation Maitri’ was quick and timely to save precious lives. India in fact has tested capabilities as the first responder in times of natural disasters which had been seen during Bhuj Earthquake and Uttarakhand floods. The scale has come with a massive investment of the political capital by PM Modi.
(The author is the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party)