External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said PM Modi spoke to Presidents of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on multiple occasions and deputed four Union Ministers as special envoys to Romania, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Poland to facilitate 'Operation Ganga'.
New Delhi: In line with India's principle of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – world is a family', several foreign nationals from various countries were evacuated from conflict zones in Ukraine by India.
Stating this in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday (March 15), External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said they included 147 citizens of 18 countries.
"Many Ukrainian nationals that are family members of Indian nationals have also been evacuated," he said.
The Minister, however, said the Sumy evacuation was extremely complex. "…. our students faced the prospect of being caught in the crossfire," he said.
"Their evacuation from the city needed a credible ceasefire. This finally materialised due to the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself with the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia, Dr Jaishankar said.
He further said PM Modi spoke to Presidents of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on multiple occasions.
"The PM took up the issue of safe evacuation of Indians, especially from Kharkiv and Sumy. PM Modi also spoke to Prime Ministers of Romania, Slovak Republic, Hungary and President of Poland to seek support for facilitation of entry of Indians to their countries," Dr Jaishankar said.
He said the Prime Minister also deputed four Union Ministers as special envoys to Romania, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Poland to facilitate 'Operation Ganga'. This included Jyotiraditya Scindia to Romania, Kiren Rijiju to the Slovak Republic, Hardeep Singh Puri to Hungary and Gen V K Singh to Poland.
Under Operation Ganga, 90 flights were operated, out of which 76 were civilian flights, and 14 were Indian Air Force flights. The evacuation flights were from Romania, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. While the IAF rose to the occasion, most private airlines also participated enthusiastically, the Minister said.
The Minister said Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudarm, a final year medical student of Kharkiv Medical University, lost his life at Kharkiv. "We deeply mourn his untimely demise. Our Embassy in Ukraine is diligently pursuing the repatriation of his mortal remains to India," he said.
Another Indian, Harjot Singh, suffered bullet injuries on his way out in Kyiv. His medical expenses were taken care of, and arrangements were made for movement from Kyiv to the Polish border. He was brought back on the IAF flight to India accompanied by a doctor arranged by the Indian Mission in Poland, Dr Jaishankar said.
"As tensions increased, Indian Embassy in Ukraine started a registration drive for Indians in Jan 2022. As a result, around 20,000 Indians registered. Most Indian nationals were students pursuing medical studies in Ukrainian universities dispersed throughout the country," Dr Jaishankar said. He also said many students opted to stay back despite several advisories.