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Two Men behind the success of Operation Rahat

At a time when most of the countries feared to conduct military or rescue operations in the war ravaged country of Yemen, India stood ahead of others and successfully conducted the rescue operation – Operation Rahat, showing the might of the Indian Army and the brilliance with which the Government of India executed the operation. As many as 26 nations, including the USA, Germany and France; sought the help of India in evacuating their citizens.
Besides the Army who once again stood for the nation at the time of crisis, two men require special mention – PM Modi and, Minister of State and Former Chief of Army Gen. V.K.Singh.
Operation Rahat would have been an impossible mission if not for the good relationship shared between the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman and PM Modi. The King assured his complete support to the mission when PM Modi requested for his cooperation. PM Modi requested the King to hold the air strike for some time and allow the Indian rescue planes to fly out of Yemen. (Saudi Arabia controls the airports and airspace in Yemen.)
The Indian national carrier, Air India, carried 488 people through three special flights from Sana’a to India on April 5. A day later, Air India is reported to have evacuated 574 people from Sana’a to Djibouti, described as the single largest evacuation by air in a day. The Indian Airforce had dispatched its C-17s on April 2, and brought back 358 Indians.
Government of India decided to take sea route to rescue the expatriates stranded in Aden, a port city, after the government’s plans to airlift them did not materialize due to attack on Sana’a airport. Two merchant vessels and two warships — destroyer Mumbai and stealth frigate Tarkash also left for Yemen to help ferry other stranded expatriates back home. The government had also employed INS Sumitra to ensure the safety and security of the passengers from pirates. India’s shipping corporation also sent two passenger ships—Kavaratti and Corals, to assist the navy. In all, India sent five ships to Yemen. Small boats were used to transport Indians from Yemen’s port city Aden onto the naval vessels that could not enter the ports due to heavy firing.
According to eyewitnesses, in such a hostile atmosphere, unarmed Gen. V.K. Singh toured the cities and villages in Yemen, collecting Indians and other citizens whoever asked him for help. He actually got on the ground and walked on the roads and streets, and commanded the operation; when even the Army of Saudi Arabia preferred air strikes over groundwork fearing the loss of soldiers on ground.Most of the aircraft and ships landed in Mumbai and the city of Kochi. The evacuees were then transported to their hometowns by Indian Railways. The railways offered free tickets for their onward journeys. In addition, state governments have offered financial support to many evacuees.
The Indian Iris team salutes each and every individual who contributed to the success of Operation Rahat and made the citizens of India proud.

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