India asks its nationals to leave 'fragile' Yemen
With growing instability in Yemen, India on Wednesday issued an advisory to Indian nationals in the Arab country asking them to consider leaving voluntarily by the "earliest available" commercial flight.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, addressing a media briefing here, said: "The government on January 21 issued an advisory to all Indians in Yemen. We want to reiterate that now, that the security situation in Yemen is fragile, with high possibility of major conflict and disturbances.
"We, therefore, urge and advise all Indian nationals who are resident in Yemen to consider leaving on voluntary basis by the earliest available commercial flight."
The Shia Houthi rebels have taken over a key air base from forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and continued their advance towards his Aden stronghold.
The rebel fighters backed by allied army units seized the al-Anad military airbase, 60 km north of Aden, early on Wednesday after heavy fighting.
A Shia Houthi leader said the group has arrested Defence Minister Major Gen. Mahmoud al-Subaihi in Lahj province.
Hadi fled to Aden, the country's second biggest city, in late February after weeks of house arrest by the Houthi group in capital Sanaa, and stepped up confrontations with the group who took over control of the capital in September 2014.
According to the website of the Indian embassy in Yemen, only about 3,000 Indian nationals are registered with it -- way down from an estimated 5,000 in 2011 and around 14,000 in 2010. Political instability and violence in the country in recent years have obviously impacted the Indian diaspora.
Most of the Indians living in Yemen are paramedical and hospital staff, university professors, IT and other professionals, white collar workers, managerial and clerical staff in private sector, including oil companies, and skilled and semi-skilled workers.
A vast majority of them hail from Kerala but a few also come from other states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. - IANS