PM Modi seeks Saudi help to rescue Indians from Yemen

PM Modi seeks Saudi help to rescue Indians from Yemen

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked Saudi Arabia's new king for his support in efforts to evacuate some 4,000 stranded Indians from war-torn Yemen.

Modi expressed his "deep concern about the safety and welfare of the approximately 4,000 Indian citizens in Yemen" when Saudi King Salman telephoned him late evening, the Indian foreign ministry said.

"Prime minister briefed his majesty King Salman on India's evacuation plan and requested his majesty's support and cooperation," a ministry statement said, adding that the king assured Modi of "all possible assistance".

India has moved to airlift its citizens from the Middle East country, which has been plunged into chaos by a Huthi Shiite rebellion that has triggered Saudi-backed air strikes on the capital Sanaa.

Some 4,100 Indians are currently in Yemen, including 3,100 in Sanaa, 500 in Aden and the rest around the country.

The Saudi-led air strikes have hit the main international airport in Sanaa and a renegade troop base, as Arab leaders vow to pummel the rebels until they surrender.

India has also sent three navy and two passenger ships to help evacuate its workers and other citizens, many of whom are nurses from the southern state of Kerala.

India last week asked all its nationals to leave Yemen, where deadly fighting has sent tensions in the Middle East soaring.

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