In order to scale up the ongoing evacuation efforts under ‘Operation Ganga’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked the Indian Air Force to join the evacuation efforts, said sources.
The sources said that leveraging the capacities of the Air Force will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame. It will also help to deliver humanitarian aid more efficiently, sources added. Indian Air Force is likely to deploy several C-17 aircraft as part of ‘Operation Ganga’ from today.
Till now, only private Indian carriers were evacuating Indians from Romania and Hungary, countries with land borders with Ukraine on the western side, as the Ukrainian airspace had been shut since February 24.
India began the evacuation of around 14,000 of its stranded citizens on February 26. Leveraging the capacities of the IAF will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame, they noted.
The large C-17 aircraft will also help deliver humanitarian aid to war-hit Ukraine more efficiently, they mentioned.
The Union government has launched ‘Operation Ganga’ to bring back stranded students and Indian citizens from the conflict-torn Ukraine. Special flights are being operated by Air India as part of the ‘Operation Ganga’ mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met President Ram Nath Kovind and briefed him on various issues, including the situation in Ukraine. According to the government sources, PM Modi updated him about the government’s efforts to evacuate Indian nationals from the war-torn country under the recently launched ‘Operation Ganga’.
He also updated him that over 1,600 Indian students have been evacuated from Ukraine till this morning as the seventh Air India Express flight landed in Mumbai with 182 Indians, mostly students, who departed from Budapest (Hungary) at midnight Monday.
PM Modi further updated him that he had directed the Ministry of External Affairs officials to make proper arrangements for the students who will be coming to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania till they depart for India.
Detailing the initiatives, the Prime Minister also apprised the President that four senior Cabinet Ministers are departing to the neighbouring countries Poland, Hungary Slovakia and Romania as his ‘Special Envoy’ to oversee the evacuation mission and with the visit of four senior ministers to various nations will energise the evacuation efforts, the sources said.
He also updated Kovind that India will extend help to people from the neighbouring countries and developing countries who are stranded in Ukraine under India`s motto of the ”world being one family.”
The first consignment of relief supplies to Ukraine to deal with the humanitarian situation on Ukraine`s borders would be dispatched Tuesday, the Prime Minister informed the President. Prime Minister Modi is personally monitoring the situation and he has already chaired three high-level meetings till Monday evening.
The Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is leaving for Romania and Moldova, Kiren Rijiju to Slovakia, Hardeep Singh Puri to Hungary and Gen VK Singh (Retd) will be going to Poland to oversee the evacuation of Indian nationals.