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In a significant mission in war-torn Sudan, a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force took off from a small airstrip at Wadi Seidna on the night between Thursday and Friday. Wadi Seidna is situated approximately 40 km north of Khartoum. The IAF stated that the C-130J conducted a daring rescue operation, evacuating passengers that included medical cases, such as a pregnant woman, and individuals who had no other means of reaching Port Sudan. It is not confirmed whether all those rescued were Indian nationals.

Throughout this week, three naval ships and two C-130J aircraft belonging to the Indian Air Force have been transporting individuals from Port Sudan to Jeddah. Numerous Indians residing in Khartoum and other cities are being brought to Port Sudan by buses for evacuation. Additionally, a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft of the IAF was involved in repatriating a group of Indians from Jeddah back to India.

Apart from being carried out at night, the operation faced additional risks as a Turkish evacuation aircraft had been targeted earlier while landing at Wadi Seidna. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, and both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces denied involvement in the incident.

According to the IAF, the convoy was led by the Indian Defence Attaché, who maintained communication with IAF authorities until they arrived at the airstrip in Wadi Seidna. The IAF noted that the airstrip had a deteriorated surface, lacking navigational aids, fuel, and landing lights.

During the approach to the airstrip, the aircrew utilized Electro-Optical/InfraRed sensors to ensure a clear runway and absence of hostile forces nearby. After confirming safety, the aircrew executed a tactical approach using Night Vision Goggles on a dark night. The aircraft engines remained running during landing, while IAF Garud Commandos secured passengers and luggage onboard.

The IAF disclosed that the take-off from the unlit runway also utilized NVGs, and the entire operation lasted approximately two-and-a-half hours. A similar evacuation operation was conducted by the IAF in Kabul following its fall to the Taliban in 2021.

On Thursday, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra reported that around 1,700 to 2,000 Indians had been safely evacuated from the conflict zone in Sudan this week.

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