The two C-17 military transport aircraft India sent on Thursday to Juba, the war-torn capital of South Sudan, to evacuate the more than 300 Indians stranded there are expected to land in Delhi at 10 am today.
The aircraft will first make a three-hour refuelling stop at Entebbe in Uganda, sources said. From there, they will fly to Thiruvananthapuram in the Indian state of Kerala, and then on to the capital Delhi.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had, in a series of tweets, said yesterday: "Indians in South Sudan - Pls move out. We have sent two aircrafts for you. If situation worsens, we will not be able to evacuate u."
"South Sudan - My colleague @Gen_VKSingh has landed in Juba to evacuate Indian nationals from there. Operation #SankatMochan."
Ahead of his departure in the wee hours of Thursday, Singh had said: "Time to leave.Thank you all for the messages & good wishes. We will do our best to bring back every Indian. Op #SankatMochan."
Singh is being accompanied by Amar Sinha, secretary (economic relations) in the external affairs ministry, joint secretary Satbir Singh, and director Anjani Kumar.
An official advisory had said yesterday that only Indian nationals with valid Indian travel documents would be allowed to board, that they would be allowed to carry on a maximum of five kilograms of cabin baggage and no check-in pieces.
Women and children would be accommodated on priority, it added.
According to the ministry, there are some 600 Indians in South Sudan, 450 of them in Juba.
So far, nearly 300 Indians have registered -- for the evacuation -- with the Indian embassy, official sources said.
(WION and PTI)