New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: With the situation in Yemen slipping more into uncertainty, India on Thursday said it was assessing the evolving situation in the Arab country and considering sending two ships to evacuate Indian nationals.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a detailed telephonic conversation with the Indian envoy in Sana'a, Amrit Lugun, on the evolving situation in Yemen, said official sources.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, in a press release issued on Thursday night, said Sushma Swaraj informed him about sending two ships which will evacuate Indians now waiting to return from Yemen.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
"Since the airports in Yemen are closed, the Indians there will be taken by ship to the nearby country, Djibouti. From there, they will be airlifted to India. Those who are unable to board the ship will be brought by road to Saudi Arabia and from there they will fly back to the country," Chandy quoted Sushma Swaraj as telling him.
He said he has received calls from Keralites stranded in Yemen and has spoken to the Indian ambassador to ensure that all Keralite nurses who are waiting to return be handed over their passports and certificates.
Even though there are no official figures on the exact number of people from Kerala in Yemen, unofficial estimates say there are around 3,000 people from the state.
Anil Wadhwa, secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry, convened an inter-ministerial meeting of representatives of the ministries of defence, home, overseas Indian affairs, and shipping as well Naval headquarters, Air Force and Air India to examine the various options available to assist Indian nationals in the current situation.
The external affairs ministry has established a 24-hour control room in Delhi to monitor the situation and provide information about the security situation.
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India's moves came as Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against the Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen early on Thursday, a day after the US-backed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled the country.
Saudi Arabia's warplanes raided military camps of the Shia Houthi group in Yemen's capital Sana'a on Thursday, killing at least 25 civilians and wounding 50 others, as Riyadh led a joint Gulf Arab nations' operation in the crisis-hit country.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar said on Thursday they have decided to act to protect Yemen against "aggression" by the Houthi militia, according to a joint statement.