Operation Raahat: massive air and sea operation to evacuate over 4000 Indians from Yemen
Operation Raahat was in news on 1 April 2015 as India launched a massive air and sea operation to evacuate over 4000 Indian nationals from Yemen. The operation will involve total of five ships and four aircraft.
The operation started after India got permission to dock its offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra at the Aden harbor of Yemen. In the evacuation exercise, 350 Indian nationals were evacuated from Aden to Djibouti by INS Sumitra. The nationals will be flown to India in two Air Force C-17 Globemasters.
The 350 evacuated people belong to different states of India and they are Kerala (206), Tamil Nadu (40), Maharashtra (31), West Bengal (23), Delhi (22), Karnataka (15), and Andhra Pradesh/Telangana (13).
The complete rescue operation was overseen by Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd.) VK Singh.
Beside INS Sumitra, two more Indian Navy Ships namely INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash have also sailed for Yemen to take part in Operation Raahat. Two merchant vessels namely, Kavaratti and Coral will also take part in the operation along with two 180-seater Airbus A320 planes.
Why Operation Raahat?
The Operation Raahat was launched to make sure that Indian nationals are not harmed in the military operation that was started in Yemen in last week of March 2015 by Saudi Arabia and 10 other countries. The military operation was started against Houthi rebels, who drove out the Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Who are Houthis?
They are followers of the Shia Zaidi sect and are officially known as Ansarallah (the supporter of God). The group began as a movement to preach tolerance and peace in the Zaidi stronghold of North Yemen in 1990s.
The group takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who launched an insurgency in 2004 against the ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh that lasted till 2010. They participated in the 2011 Arab Spring inspired revolution in Yemen that replaced Saleh with Abdrahbu Mansour Hadi.
Currently the group controls the Yemeni capital Sana'a and the Parliament.
Who: Operation Raahat
Where: In Yemen
What: Launched by India
When: Last week of March 2015