The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is so impressed with India’s humanitarian rescue operation conducted in Yemen last year that it wants to study it, officially. Operation Raahat conducted in April 2015 has come to be known as one of the most stellar rescue missions ever conducted in a strife-torn area internationally. More than 5,600 people including 960 foreign nationals from 41 countries were rescued by the Indian forces in a short span of 10 days.
“The operation was phenomenally successful. India also rescued our citizens from Yemen. The evacuations were done in record time. This is so inspiring that we now want to get associated with the Indian Navy to engage in combined humanitarian relief work,” Captain Stuart Borland, naval and air adviser to the Royal Navy, told The Sunday Guardian. He was in Visakhapatnam to attend the second Presidential International Fleet Review.
The Royal Navy will study Operation Raahat in all its details. It will try to understand the meticulous planning process that was followed. The other important aspect of their study will be to learn the way the plans were executed.
Talking about India’s role in international humanitarian crises, Borland said, “Today, India is a leading country in the world to conduct humanitarian operations of any nature. May it be earthquake or other natural disasters, the Indian forces are quick to reach and provide relief.”
Talking of the strong bilateral ties, he said, “We share a special bond with the Indian Navy. It is a brother Navy for us. We have so much in common, including shared history. We have a special place for the Indian Navy,” he added.
Asked if any official proposal had been moved by the Royal Navy to study Operation Raahat or to engage in combined humanitarian relief work in the future, he said there was no need for that. “Our bond and rapport is so strong that we discuss these things face-to-face. We don’t need to move proposals for that. I don’t have to write to my own brother. It is about friends exchanging ideas, comparing notes,” he said, adding that both the countries consistently send their officials for training to each other’s countries.
Applauding India’s progress in developing its naval prowess, he said the perception about India in the international community had improved considerably over the last decade and a half.
UK’s anti-air destroyer HMS Defender participated in the International Fleet Review.
India was one of the last countries to close its embassy in Yemen. It closed it only after conducting a rescue mission, which was applauded throughout the world. INS Mumbai, INS Tarkash and INS Subhadra participated in the rescue operations in Yemen at the beginning of April 2015. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Canada, France, Indonesia, Romania, Egypt, Hungary, Italy, Jordon and Nepal were some of the countries whose nationals were rescued by the Indian forces.
In total, over 4,600 Indians and 960 foreigners were rescued by the Indian authorities. The Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Air India, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Railways and the state governments had seamlessly co-operated with each other to execute the mission, which was planned at the highest level.
The Naval warships had entered the Yemeni ports in record time and took onboard the maximum number of passengers in the shortest available time span. The ships had nursed the ailing, the old, the children and pregnant women with great warmth and love. The gestures onboard the vessels were so thoughtful that commentaries were made in multiple foreign and Indian languages to make the refugees comfortable after their traumatic journey in the strife-torn, warring Yemen.
Many foreign ambassadors and naval chiefs had thanked India for the outstanding rescue mission. Though other countries like the US also have blue water navies, India was the only country last year to launch such a massive rescue operation there. Many countries had sought India’s help to provide safe passage for their citizens.