The Taliban Offensive of 2021 led to the fall of President Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul, leading to Taliban overtaking the Afghanistan government. With the US troops moving out, this was a turning point in Afghanistan’s history. In this process, all the countries were trying to evacuate their people and personnel from the war-torn country.
India being an able friend of the country for years, evacuations were to be done immediately before any problems took place. It was the time for the Indian Air Force and other defense forces to act and bring the Indian citizens stuck in Afghanistan back to the safer shores of their motherland. It was a decision that had to be taken strategically.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, 2021. As the news reached Delhi, the decision was taken to bring all citizens stuck back to India through Operation Devi Shakti. IAS aspirants can read about the diplomatic relations between India and Afghanistan till date at the linked article.
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Operation Devi Shakti – Key Points
On August 17, PM Modi had directed the Cabinet Committee to ensure evacuation of all Indians from Afghanistan to be on a safe mode. It was also decided that India will also provide help to Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who want to move out of the country. Finally, with the arrival of a fresh batch of 78 evacuees who reached Delhi from the country, The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India gave this complex mission a name that was worth the reckoning. It was named Operation Devi Shakti.
The main purpose of this mission was to evacuate Indian citizens from the affected country. Operation Devi Shakti 2021 was named to honour the Indian Air Force and other defence forces. The name came to the forefront when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted about it on August 24, 2021.
The Indian embassy stranded in Kabul was also brought back to India. Jaishankar had mentioned it as a “difficult and complicated” exercise. It was all due to the Indian Air Force and their valiant efforts the operation started on a successful note. The Indian counterpart had stepped up its efforts with Operation Devi Shakti to evacuate Indians and its Afghan partners from Kabul amidst the increasing hostilities by the Taliban.
The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist political and military organisation operating in Afghanistan. Learn in detail about the same at the linked article.
The Indian Air Force
On August 23, an Indian Air Force flight took off from India and brought back 75 Sikhs from Afghanistan along with three copies of the Guru Granth Sahib. One more aircraft brought back around 150 people, including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel, and some stranded Indians from Kabul. Every member of the Air Force made sure that every passenger was brought home on safe grounds as the escalating tensions outside the airport were very much in chaos.
Under its mission, “Operation Devi Shakti”, India has already evacuated over 800 people after Kabul was captured by the Taliban on August 15.
The American Support and the Resumption of Operation Devi Shakti
With the situation deteriorating in Afghanistan, the evacuation wasn’t an easy process. With support from the US Armed Forces, the Indian Air Force carried out the task through Operation Devi Shakti successfully. The American forces were handling the security at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul. In between this period, the tensions had escalated. The Government of India had decided to stop the process for a week; post one week, the evacuation was resumed, with India successfully evacuating 800 people from Kabul in between security worries.
UPSC and Operation Devi Shakti
Operation Devi Shakti had become the news of the hour. It was just a matter of time that it made its place in the exam syllabi too. From UPSC, a lot of importance is given to Operation Devi Shakti in the Prelims and Mains. The Operation Devi Shakti UPSC is one topic that is very important for the aspirants to know.
Full credit should be given to the Indian Air Force for making operation Devi Shakti a huge success. But, the efforts made by the Indian government and also the help the Americans provided are also to be lauded as due to them, this rescue mission wouldn’t have been successful.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Operation Devi Shakti
What is Operation Devi Shakti?
Operation Devi Shakti was an operation carried out by the Indian Armed forces to evacuate Indian citizens and foreign nationals stuck in Afghanistan after the collapse of the Ashraf Ghani government.
How many people were evacuated in Operation Devi Shakti?
800 people were evacuated during the Operation Devi Shakti process.
How did Operation Devi Shakti, the name, come into prominence?
The name came to be known in front of the media when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted on August 24, 2021, about the operation name.