PM Narendra Modi calls high-level meeting on Ukraine Russia crisis for evacuation of Indians
NEW DELHI: Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a high-level meeting to discuss the situation and he safety of Indian nationals stranded in the war-hit eastern European nation.
Sources said on Monday that Prime Minister Modi has called a high-level meeting on the Ukraine crisis. Some Union Ministers may go to neighboring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuations of Indian nationals, they added.
Top ministers including Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and Gen V K Singh may travel to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation mission and help students.
Prime Minister Modi had on Sunday said that the government will do whatever possible to bring back all the citizens stranded in Ukraine. Addressing a rally in Basti, PM Modi said, “By running Operation Ganga, we are bringing back thousands of Indians home. Our sons, daughters still stranded in Ukraine will be brought back. The government is working day and night for them…Wherever there is trouble, we left no stone unturned to bring our citizens back.”
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has already activated a dedicated Twitter handle, “OpGanga Helpline” (@opganga), to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from war-torn Ukraine. The mission to evacuate the stranded Indians from Ukraine has been named “Operation Ganga”.
India has also set up round-the-clock “control centres” in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine through border-crossing points with these countries.
Meanwhile, Air India’s two evacuation flights, one from the Romanian capital Bucharest and another from Hungarian capital Budapest, carrying 490 Indian nationals who were stranded in Ukraine landed at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning.
India on Saturday began the evacuation of its stranded citizens amid the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, with the first evacuation flight, AI1944, bringing back 219 people from Bucharest to Mumbai in the evening.
An Air India spokesperson said the airline’s fourth evacuation flight is expected to come from Bucharest to Delhi with evacuees on Sunday afternoon. The spokesperson said the carrier plans to send two more planes to Bucharest and Budapest on Sunday so that they can operate fifth and sixth evacuation flights but it is “all highly tentative”.
The Ukrainian airspace has been closed for civil aircraft operations since February 24 morning when the Russian military offensive began. Therefore, the Indian evacuation flights are operating out of Bucharest and Budapest.
Indian nationals, who reached the Ukraine-Romania border and Ukraine-Hungary border, were taken to Bucharest and Budapest, respectively, by road with the assistance of Indian government officials so that they could be evacuated in these Air India flights.
(With agency inpputs)