India has airlifted around 22,500 stranded citizens under and also rescued several citizens of neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.
New Delhi: 'Operation Ganga' has been India's largest evacuation mission to ensure the safe evacuation of stranded Indians and bring them back home after 'operation Devi Shakti' that was launched by the Modi government in Afghanistan in 2021.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, March 15, interacted virtually with officials of several embassies and groups involved in the evacuation of Indian students stranded in conflict-ridden Ukraine. He also held discussions with officials of Indian embassies based in Hungary and Romania, sources said.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Law Kiren Rijiju, Minister for Petroleum Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of State for Civil Aviation General (Retd) V K Singh were also present in the meeting.
Scindia was deployed by the Prime Minister to Romania, Rijiju to the Slovak Republic, Puri to Hungary and V K Singh to Poland as special envoys under 'Operation Ganga' to facilitate the faster and safer evacuation of the Indians, especially students.
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar made a suo-moto statement in the Rajya Sabha on the ongoing situation in Ukraine, highlighting that the evacuation from Sumy in Ukraine was extremely complex. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal intervention with the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia materialised the ceasefire and consequently the evacuation of Indian students.
Dr Jaishankar noted that the evacuation from Sumy was complex as Indian students faced the prospect of being caught in the crossfire. The Minister said the evacuation from Sumy needed a credible ceasefire, and this was finally materialised due to the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia.
So far, India has airlifted around 22,500 stranded citizens. Through 'Operations Ganga', India has also rescued several citizens of neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.
During the operation, buses and trains brought Indians to the western borders of Ukraine and then, they were flown to India via Bucharest, Budapest, Suceava and Warsaw. The last batch of over 600 students who were evacuated from Sumy was brought back to India via Poland.
In line with India's principle of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – world is a family', the minister said that foreign nationals from various countries were evacuated from conflict zones in Ukraine by India.
Dr Jaishankar said they included 147 citizens of as many as 18 countries. "Many Ukrainian nationals that are family members of Indian nationals have also been evacuated," he said.