4 years of Modi: Going beyond borders on rescue ops
On this day in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the journey as Prime Minister of India. The Ministry of External Affairs, headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (the first woman to hold the office since Indira Gandhi), is responsible for carrying out the foreign policy of India. PM Modi's foreign policy is currently focused on improving relations with neighbouring countries in South Asia, engaging the extended neighbourhood in Southeast Asia and the major global powers.
Amidst efforts to improve foreign relations, the Modi government had to launch rescue operations in middle-east to save Indian nationals trapped in conflict situations. Take a look at the successful rescue operations by the Modi government.
Indian nurses rescued from Iraq
With the rise of ISIL in northern Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of Indian migrant workers live, the security of those overseas Indian came under threat. On 16 June, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) set up a 24-hour helpline at the Indian embassy in Baghdad for assistance of Indian nationals stranded in the conflict cities. It has been reported that 46 Indian nurses were abducted from the Iraqi town of Mosul who were later freed and flown back to India.
However, doubts persisted about the all the 39 Indian workers from mainly from Punjab. Finally, External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, told parliament that Indian workers kidnapped by Islamic State in Iraq in 2014 have been confirmed dead as tests had shown a match with the construction workers.
Rescue ops in Libya
A similar situation occurred in Libya where many Indian nationals are stranded because of the armed conflict in Benghazi. A chartered flight from Djerba, Tunisia brought over 200 nationals back to India. A further 216 nationals left on 8 August in 2014, with a total of another 1,500 nationals having been evacuated. About 3,000 more nationals registered with the embassy in Tripoli in order to return. On 5 August, 44 nurses returned to India on a special Air India flight; they were predominantly from Kerala with some from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Operation Raahat in Yemen
Government of India launched a massive rescue operation called Operation Raahat to save hundreds of non-residential Indians located in Yemen. After the outbreak of aerial attacks by the Saudi led coalition following the coup by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh himself oversaw the entire rescue operation right from the battle ground towns of Sana'a and Aden in Yemen and the Indian base of operation in Djibouti. The operation was highly successful and received huge acclamation from across the globe as it rescued not only Indians but thousands of foreigners stranded in the war torn country too.
Rescue of Father Father Uzhunnalil
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from Kerala, was rescued in Yemen, 18 months after he was abducted by Islamist militants during a deadly attack on a care home in the port city of Aden in the war-ravaged country. Father Uzhunnalil, was working with the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, Yemen, was abducted in 2016 and was released after over a year in captivity following massive efforts launched by India.