The Modi government, Wednesday, escalated evacuation efforts after Russia intensified its attack on Ukraine, targeting prominent cities with missiles. “Operation Ganga” will use commercial carriers as well as IAF flights to bring back Indians from Ukraine.
Four Union ministers are being sent Ukraine to expedite the evacuation efforts. Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri will be in-charge of evacuation efforts in Hungary, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia will oversee the mission in Romania and Moldova. Law minister Kiren Rijiju will expedite the trans-border movement from Slovenia while roads and transport minister General VK Singh is in-charge of evacuation from Poland.
With the Russia-Ukraine war entering the sixth day, stranded Indian nationals in war-hit Ukraine have been sending out SOS messages on social media. In response, the Modi government has intensified efforts, from asking Indian Air Force C-17 aircrafts to rushing Embassy officials at railway stations in Kyiv.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Kyiv asked all the Indian nationals to leave the Ukrainian capital immediately via trains or other means. It has been learnt that the Indian Consulate ensured the movement of thousands of students from Kyiv to western Ukraine on Sunday. Indian embassies in countries like Poland and Romania have been arranging buses for the students to safely reach their border with Ukraine.
The Indian Air Force has been asked to deploy C-17 aircraft to boost evacuation efforts. The C-17 aircraft can carry 336 passengers and was used during the evacuation in Afghanistan last year. Besides airlifting Indian nationals, the IAF aircraft will also be used to ferry humanitarian aid to the war-hit country.
Under “Operation Ganga,” a total of nine flights have been undertaken to bring back the Indian nationals. External affairs minister S. Jaishankar took to Twitter to inform that the ninth flight left Bucharest for New Delhi with 218 Indian nationals on board early Wednesday.
Private air carrier Spicejet will send a special evacuation flight from New Delhi to Slovakia to bring back the stranded Indians. Union law minister Kiren Rijiju will be travelling in the flight, overseeing the evacuation process. The aircraft will fly directly to Kosice from Delhi and will return via a technical halt at Kutaisi in Georgia.