Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Operation Ganga: Indian Air Force joins evacuation efforts as its C-17 aircraft leaves for Romania

New Delhi: Ramping up the government’s efforts to evacuate Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine, an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 transport aircraft left for Romania in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The aircraft has taken off from the Hindan airbase at around 4 am.

This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Tuesday to review the efforts to bring back Indians stranded in Ukraine and asked the Indian Air Force to join the evacuation efforts under Operation Ganga.

The sources said that leveraging the capacities of the Air Force will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame and it will also help to deliver humanitarian aid more efficiently.

After Russia’s forces launched military operations in Ukraine on February 24, the Government of India launched ‘Operation Ganga’ to bring back stranded Indian nationals from the conflict-torn Ukraine. As part of the ‘Operation Ganga’ mission, special flights are being operated free of cost. The first such evacuation flight carrying 219 Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine landed in Mumbai on February 26. Several such flights have landed in the country so far.

24×7 control centres have been set up to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals through the border crossing points with Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. A new route has been opened through Moldova and an MEA team is also now in place there and is operational. The team will assist in the evacuation of Indians through Romania.

A dedicated Twitter Account (@opganga) has been set up to assist Operation Ganga. The Indian Embassy in Kyiv has advised Indian citizens against moving to any of the border checkpoints without prior coordination with government officials at border posts.

In a bid to energize the evacuation efforts, the Government of India appointed four special envoys who will oversee evacuation operations of stranded Indians in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries. Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri will oversee evacuation efforts in Hungary, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Slovakia, Gen (retd) VK Singh in Poland while Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia will be going to Romania and will also go to Moldova.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held several meetings so far to review the ongoing efforts under Operation Ganga to bring back Indians stranded in Ukraine. He has also said that India will help people from neighbouring countries and developing countries who are stranded in Ukraine and may seek assistance.

02/03/22 ANI/Print

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