What was Operation RAAHAT?
Operation Raahat (“Relief”) was an operation of the Indian Armed Forces to evacuate Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from Yemen in 2015 during the Yemeni Crisis. 1 – 11 April 2015 The evacuation was done by the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Air India More than 4600 Indian citizens in Yemen were evacuated along with 960 foreign Gulf War 1990 – many lessons were learned in dealing with mass evacuations from the region.
India has honed its skills remarkably well on how to respond in a crisis situation such as this, and how to safeguard its citizens from a fastdeteriorating conflict zone. Prior to Yemen, the crisis situation in Lebanon in 2006, Libya in 2011, Iraq in 2003 and again in 2014 led to evacuation operations.
The biggest one still remains from 1990, when India evacuated 110,000 people during the first Gulf War from Iraq and Kuwait using nearly 500 flights operated by Air India and, later, even cruise ships. This remains the world’s largest civil evacuation till date. MAP Operation Decisive Storm – The 2015 military intervention in Yemen began on March 27, 2015 when the Saudi Air Force led a coalition of Arab states in attacking the Shiite Houthi rebels. This was preceded by weeks of turmoil during which the Houthi guerrillas toppled the government of President Abdul Mansur Hadi and took over the large parts of the country.
Advisories go unheeded
• Anticipating further hostilities, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had issued advisories on January 21, 2015 to Indian expatriates in Yemen to leave the country.
• A second travel advisory urging Indians to avoid travel to Yemen, and to leave the country was issued on February 20, 2015.
• March 25, two days before the attack by the Arab coalition, the MEA issued an urgent advisory urging all Indian citizens to evacuate as soon as possible.
• However, more than 5000 Indian citizens had not heeded the warnings and were trapped in Yemen.
• Permission from Saudi Arabia
• Yemen Air space not secure
• Aden run over by Houthi rebels
• Sand storms – visibility reduced • Language Barrier while negotiating/ conducting ops
• No intervention in the war – Neutrality
• Led by Gen VK Singh , MoS External Affairs
• General Singh himself travelled to both Djibouti and Sana’a (an active war zone) to oversee the operations.
• Operational base in Djibouti
• Evacuation by Both sea and air
• Naval Ships INS Mumbai,INS Sumitra,INS Tarkash, couple of passenger ferries
• C 17 Globemasters from IAF
• Civilian aircraft from Air Ind 5,600+ Total number of people evacuated 4,640 Indians Rescued 960 foreign nationals rescued 41 countries whose citizen were rescued by India 2900+ evacuated by air through 18 special flights out of Sana’a 1670 rescued by sea from Aden, Al Hudaydah and Alü Mukalla Many nations did not have the operational capability to carry out rescue operation so they sought help of India.
7 million Indians in West Asia Political Instability Indian intervention or neutrality? Why always a reactionary policy(rescue ops)? Stricter Advisories Attitude change in Indians towards security risks
By Dr. Mahipal Singh Rathore
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