As the security situation in Yemen deteriorated on Thursday, South Block decided to “relocate” its embassy in Sanaa in view of the safety of its diplomats. It will shut its operations after two days.
Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted on Thursday night, “The situation deteriorates further in Yemen, India winds up air evacuations from Sanaa. Embassy to be relocated.”
Wadhwa has been leading the operations in South Block, as the government coordinated with a range of agencies within the country and overseas.
Later, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the security situation in Yemen has deteriorated further with bomb blast at Aden port Thursday.
“Following evacuation by Naval ships from Al Hudaydah port for remaining nationals over next two days, Embassy in Sanaa will need to shut operations and relocate its personnel,” the MEA said.
The decision to re-locate comes in the wake of heavy shelling by Saudi-led coalition on Thursday and the fighting with the Houthi rebels has spilt over the streets of Yemen.
Earlier, Indian government officials had said that the Indian embassy will remain functional till the situation is conducive. Sources said that a security assessment was done in March and adequate precautions were taken to secure the embassy premises.
This decision came on a day when 633 persons were evacuated from Sanaa by Air India on Thursday, marking the end of air operations from the Yemen’s capital. Al Hudaydah port evacuation will be on for final two days, officials said.
“The tally of Yemen evacuations by India so far reached 5,600, which included 4,640 Indians and 960 foreigners from 41 countries and counting,” officials said.
Indian officials said that they were expecting the situation to worsen and that was a key reason for the ramping up evacuations over the last week or so. On March 27, a meeting was held between representatives of the MEA, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Air India and they rolled out the evacuation plan.