Sudan Crisis: What is Operation Kaveri?

3 May 2023  Read 1510 Views

Sudan, a Northeast African country, is already in a tough neighbourhood, and its descent into a civil war recently is only throwing this troubled nation into chaos. To this, India, in response, has launched ‘Operation Kaveri’ to evacuate nearly 3,000 Indian citizens stranded in the country, which had remained on edge due to brutal fighting between the army and a paramilitary force. 

Read this article to know what is happening in Sudan, who is fighting who, the outcome of the clash, India’s response- Operation Kaveri and many more. So, let’s get started!

What is happening in Sudan? 

  • Sudan has been facing a dispute between the country’s army & a paramilitary group, which took over 427 lives, including at least 273 civilians & more than 3,700 have been wounded. 
  • It started when clashes erupted in western Sudan, in the capital city of Khartoum, & in the Darfur region between two rival groups: the Sudanese army & a paramilitary group called the RSF, or Rapid Support Forces.
  • These two factions together ended a civilian government in the October 2021 coup (an often violent change of government), resulting in the fall of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir. Since then, the army has run Sudan, with coup leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan as the de facto ruler.
  • The RSF, led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, has also worked side-to-side with the Sudanese army to help keep the military or army in power.
  • Now, read this carefully, after the dictator Bashir’s downfall, Sudan was supposed to witness democratic elections by the end of 2023, wherein Army leader Burhan promised to empower civilian rule and not a dictatorship. 
  • However, the bitter truth is that neither Burhan nor Dagalo is ready to give up their power, and they are trapped in a power struggle.

We know what you are thinking; how Dagalo came into the picture here? Right!

  • Basically, this violence was a disagreement over how RSF paramilitaries must be incorporated into the Sudanese army.
  • As a result of this disagreement, RSF began deploying members around the country and in Khartoum (the capital city) without the expressed permission of the army, thus, resulting in conflict.
  • Another problematic reality of this conflict is the growing concern against RSF taking control of more of the country’s economic assets, such as gold mines. 
  • Both factions have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire (truce) as Western, Arab and Asian nations race to evacuate their nationals from the country. Many people, including Sudanese and others from neighbouring countries, have fled to Egypt, Chad, and South Sudan in the past few days. 

The Clash in Sudan 

Interestingly, did you know? The two generals waging a bloody power struggle in the country actually share a long history of working together which started 20 years ago when both of them during a genocide waged in the country's Darfur region. Back in 2003, rebels in Darfur, a poor, remote region in western Sudan rose up against the authoritarian rule of President Omar al-Bashir, the dictator.

Operation Kaveri 

The Indian government recently launched ‘Operation Kaveri’ to evacuate nearly 3,000 Indian citizens in Sudan. PM Narendra Modi announced the operation at a public event in Kerala. He has asked Junior External Affairs Minister V Muraleedharan to travel there to supervise the evacuation. Consequently, India had successfully stationed two Super Hercules C-130J aircraft in Jeddah with 40 passengers onboard New Delhi, across the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, to evacuate its citizens. 

Foreign Minister had tweeted: “Operation Kaveri gets underway to bring back our citizens stranded in Sudan. About 500 Indians have reached Port Sudan. Our ships and aircraft are set to bring them back home. Committed to assisting all our brethren in Sudan.”

Other Countries Roles in Sudan Conflict

  • Western powers, such as the US and the UK, had also backed democratic elections after Bashir’s overthrow. They suspended financial support following the coup as discussed, then backed the plan for a new transition and a civilian government (democratic one).
  • Energy-rich powers Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates are also trying to shape events in Sudan, seeing the transition after Nashir’s overthrow as a way to roll back Islamist influence and enhance stability in the region.
  • Gulf states have pursued investments in sectors such as agriculture, where Sudan holds ports on its Red Sea coast.
  • Russia sought to build a naval base on the Red Sea, while other UAE companies are up for investment, with one UAE consortium writing a preliminary deal to establish and operate a port & another UAE-based airline agreeing with a Sudanese partner to create a new low-cost carrier at Khartoum.
  • Burhan and Hemedti both developed close ties to Saudi Arabia after sending troops involved in the Saudi-led operation in Yemen. 
  • Egypt, itself ruled by military man President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew his Islamist predecessor, has deep ties to Burhan and the army which will promote political negotiations through parties with stronger links to the army.

Conclusion

Sudan has been consistently experiencing bloodshed due to clashes between the army and paramilitary forces even after a 72-hour ceasefire, and there are even allegations of violence in the country. It’s only a matter of time before the country will witness a drastic change in its system. The power struggle, as erupted between soldiers loyal to Sudanese army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, paramilitary Rapid Support Soldiers (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo had raised immense concerns in the country, whose outcome cannot be speculated.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Manager at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course). She is a patent analyst & had also done advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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