Government has made arrangements for the evacuation of Indians from South Sudan and set up a task force to closely monitor developments in the war-torn country, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.
Swaraj held a high-level meeting, which was attended by both Ministers of State -V K Singh and M J Akbar, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, during which ways to coordinate emergency assistance to Indians there were also discussed.
A task force has been set up to keep a close tab on the developments there, she said.
The task force, comprising Singh, Akbar, Jaishankar and other senior ministry officials, held a meeting in the morning.
“We have made all arrangements to evacuate Indians from South Sudan in case the situation deteriorates further,” Swaraj said, noting that the situation in that country has reportedly improved since last night.
Asserting that security of Indians was most important to the government, she said, “Even if the situation remains ok, we will ask them if they want to return and we will get them out of there.”
According to the minister, there are around 600 Indians in South Sudan, of them 450 are in Juba (capital city of South Sudan) and nearly 150 are outside Juba, where the fighting is taking place at present.
South Sudan’s capital is witnessing heavy fighting due to clashes between former rebels and government soldiers in several parts of the city.
Yesterday, MEA in its advisory had said Indian nationals desirous of departing for South Sudan may register themselves at the email ID email@example.com.
“It is important to have exact number of Indian nationals seeking facility of evacuation to make arrangements. Please be brief,” the advisory on assistance for Indian nationals in South Sudan had said.
In case of absence of Internet, please text to +211955589611, +211925502025, +211956942720, +211955318587, it added.
“The security situation in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, has deteriorated since July 7, 2016. We have reports of gun fire and fighting on the streets of Juba making any movement virtually impossible.
“Ministry of External Affairs advises all Indian nationals against all travel to South Sudan till situation improves,” it had added.