Operation Ganga: 3,726 Indians to be brought back today

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Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia on Thursday said that 3,726 Indians will be brought back home on Thursday by 19 flights from Bucharest, Suceava, Kosice, Budapest, and Rzeszow.

“Under Operation Ganga, 3726 Indians will be brought back home today on eight flights from Bucharest, two flights from Suceava, one flight from Kosice, five flights from Budapest, and three flights from Rzeszow,” tweeted Scindia.

Meanwhile, the students who were evacuated from Ukraine and arrived at Delhi airport on Thursday thanked the Indian government for rescuing them.

“Indian govt took prompt action to evacuate the stranded Indian students in Ukraine. Proud to be an Indian. Indian students stranded in Kyiv and Kharkiv need to be evacuated as soon as possible,” said an Indian student.

Another Indian student Ujjala Gupta, who received a warm welcome from her parents and relatives upon her safe return to the country from war-torn Ukraine, said, “I request the government to bring back the students stuck in Kyiv and Kharkiv as the situation there is serious. I appreciate the efforts of our government to evacuate all Indians from Ukraine.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued orders to the Air Force to pitch in the rescue operations to augment the ‘Operation Ganga’.

Notably, the American C-17 Globemasters and IL-76 transport aircraft are the most capable of flying long distances with around 400 passengers. The C-17 transport aircraft had helped in a big way to evacuate citizens and officials from Kabul when the Taliban captured Afghanistan and forced Americans to exit from there.

On Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said nine flights took off from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Poland.

“Nine flights have taken off today from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Poland, including IAF aircraft. Six more flights are expected to depart shortly. Altogether will bring back more than 3,000 Indian nationals,” tweeted Jaishankar.

A total of 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the advisories were issued, and flights under Operation Ganga have been increased to facilitate the evacuation of remaining students stranded in Ukraine.

The students who left Ukraine also included some Indians who had not registered with the Embassy of India in Kyiv previously.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting on the issue. The meeting was attended by Union Ministers S Jaishankar, Piyush Goyal, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and other officials.

For the past few days, the Prime Minister has been chairing crucial meetings on the issue.

Russian forces launched military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities.

Several countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union, have condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Moscow. These countries have also promised Ukraine to help with military aid to fight Russia.

The US, Canada, and European allies agreed to remove key Russian banks from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT, which means Russian banks won’t be able to communicate securely with banks beyond Russia’s borders. President Putin has also signed a decree on special economic measures against the US and its allies.

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