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Group Captain Nanda oversaw risky rescue operations in Sudan. Carried out comparable operations in Kabul.

Group captain Ravi Nanda led a risky rescue effort on the night of April 27–28 from a tiny airfield in Wadi Sayidna, close to Khartoum, Sudan.

The Super Hercules, flown by IAF officers, landed at the Wadi Sayyidna airport, roughly 40 kilometers north of Khartoum in Sudan, to pick up the trapped passengers without any assistance from the ground and under threats of assaults on the aircraft.

Nanda also participated in the rescue efforts in Kabul, when he and his group saved Indian officials and civilians from the airport as the Taliban seized control of that nation.

121 Indians were saved during the risky rescue operation and transferred to Jeddah to be flown back to India as part of Operation Kaveri.

As a result of battles between the army and paramilitary forces, there has been carnage in Sudan. There have been claims of violence despite the 72-hour ceasefire.

Soldiers loyal to Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the commander of the Sudanese army, and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Soldiers, have started fighting.

India has stationed its military aircraft and warships in the conflict-torn nation as part of its commitment to making sure that no Indian person is left behind in Sudan.

The IAF has previously conducted similar “daunting” nighttime operations. An IAF Super Hercules was entrusted with a Special Operation into the war-torn nation of Afghanistan on August 2, 2021 as part of “Operation Devi Shakti.”

The operation to fly into Kabul’s epicenter of battle to install a “Specialized Government Team” for assisting the quick evacuation of Indian diaspora under imminent threat to their life was headed by Group Captain Ravi Nanda, the Commanding Officer of a C-130J Transport Squadron. The absence of intelligence at the target airport created a high degree of unpredictability and hazard.

Extremely uncontrolled airspace, heavy traffic of unidentified aerial platforms, very few visual cues in the middle of forbidding mountainous terrain, and, above all, a hostile ground situation involving small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, and shoulder-launched missiles were the greatest dangers that this high-stakes midnight mission had to deal with.

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