Around 150 Indians returned on Thursday to the country following Operation Sankat Mochan that was conducted to get the stranded people back from Juba, South Sudan. Around 300 Indians refused to return as a ceasefire was announced in the capital city of the African country. The Indian rescue team was headed by Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. VK Singh.
The return flight from Juba first landed in Uganda, where it refuelled, and finally reached Thiruvananthapuram, before heading to Delhi.
The refusal of about 300 Indians, who changed their minds despite signing up for being evacuated, frustrated the plans of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which had carefully coordinated the airlift from the conflict-ridden city, the Hindu reported.
As many as 600 Indians were stranded in the country, with 450 Indians stuck in Juba itself.
Former Army chief Gen. VK Singh had flown to Juba on Thursday aboard an Indian Air Force aircraft C17. Two C17s were sent for the operation.
We have sent two aircraft. This is the right time. Please move out of South Sudan. If situation deteriorates, we will not be able to evacuate you. Please ask all your relatives and friends in South Sudan to please make use of this opportunity and move out," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
"The evacuation has been meticulously planned in coordination with the local authorities as well as the support of the Indian peace keeping contingent in UNMISS," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters on Thursday, according to NDTV. "This entire operation has been under the direct supervision of Sushma Swaraj who had formed a high-level task force to monitor the situation in South Sudan," Swarup said.
Ceasefire was declared in Juba on Monday between Sudan People's Liberation Army in the Government (SPLA-IG) led by President Salva Kiir and Sudan People's Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by first Vice President Riek Machar.