India leads rescue of foreign nationals,including Americans, trapped in Yemen
Yemen is in the midst of a spiralling crisis. A Saudi-led bombing campaign against the country's Houthi rebels has led to stark warnings of a looming humanitarian disaster. Food is running out, the water supply is dwindling, and hundreds of Yemeni civilians have perished.
Things are also tough for foreign nationals trapped in the escalating conflict. The Saudi-led offensive has virtually caused all flights in and out of the country to be cancelled; main seaports are either blockaded or in the midst of battles between rival militias. Embassies have been shuttered.
More so than any other nation,India has taken the lead in the rescue of foreigners trapped in Yemen, evacuating more than 550 foreigners from 32 countries, including a dozen Americans and three Pakistanis.
The vast majority of the about 4,000 Indian nationals in Yemen, many of them nurses,appear to have been evacuated. Indian efforts wheeled into motion last week,anchored by a government team deployed in the tiny Red Sea state of Djibouti.
— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) April 8 2015
It involved combined air,sea and rail operations. India's coordination and presence was such that the U.S. Embassy advised American nationals to seek Indian assistance to leave Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, which is now under rebel control and has come under heavy bombardment by the Saudi-led coalition.
We really appreciate this a lot: British national evacuated from Yemen by Air India #YemenEvacuation
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 8, 2015
The scale of the Indian effort has spurred a fair amount of pride and triumphalism among Indians on social media,which you can find under the #YemenEvacuationhashtag.
It's also led to a moment of bonhomie between India and Pakistan. On Wednesday, Indian officials acknowledged that authorities in Islamabad had arranged for the evacuation of 11 Indians aboard a Pakistani naval vessel and flew them on a special plane from Karachi to India.
"It was a very positive, good, generous gesture," Indian Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday. "They've taken great trouble to do something,and we need to appreciate that."