Bucharest [Romania], March 3 (ANI): Six flights carrying Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine will depart shortly from the Romanian capital Bucharest on Wednesday (local time) under Operation Ganga, informed Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Scindia, who is in Romania to oversee the evacuation of Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine, on Wednesday said that a total of six flights with 1,300 Indian students onboard will depart from Bucharest to India on Wednesday (local time).
Scindia is one of the four ‘special envoys’ deployed by the Government of India to oversee the evacuation process of Indian nationals in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries.
He said, “A total of 3,500 students will leave for India from Bucharest and around 1,300 from Suceava in the next two days. Tomorrow I will be leaving for the Siret border and staying there for two days until each and every Indian is not evacuated from Siret. We are setting up two call centres — one in Bucharest and another in the Siret (Romania) to coordinate the Indian students.”
“Today we have six flights from Bucharest (Romania) to India. Around 1,300 students are departing for India today. Yesterday I met around 300-400 Indian students at the airport. They have been through a lot of trials and tribulations. It is our responsibility to send them back home safely,” said the Union Minister.
He explained that the entire task of evacuation is divided into four parts. “First is to bring all our students from Ukraine to neighbouring country borders; second is to enable them to cross the border into the neighbouring country.”
Moreover, he said that “the third part is to bring them from the border of the neighbouring country to the site of embarkation for the airports, and the fourth is to evacuate them safely to India.”
Assuring Indian of providing help in the evacuation process, Scindia said, “We are setting up two call centres–one in Bucharest and another in the Siret (Romania) to coordinate with the Indian students.”
The Union Minister met Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca in Romania on Wednesday and thanked the latter for facilitating the safe evacuation of Indian citizens.
Scindia also took stock of the arrangements and supplies in the Indian Air Force C-17 flight at Bucharest on Wednesday.
Taking to Twitter, the Union Minister said, “With the C-17 Globemaster crew, taking stock of the supplies. I thank IAF, along with the Romanian Embassy and the Indian Embassy in Romania for working round the clock without rest on all aspects of evacuation operations. Thank you! Bharat Mata ki Jai! #OperationGanga.”
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said nine flights took off on Thursday from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland.
“Nine flights have taken off today from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. Includes IAF aircraft. 6 flights more are expected to depart shortly. Altogether, will bring back more than 3000 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.
Flights under Operation Ganga have been increased. During the last 24 hours, six flights under Operation Ganga have landed in India, taking the total number of flights to 15. Out of these, 8 flights were from Bucharest, 5 from Budapest and 2 from Rzeszow.
The total number of Indians who have returned onboard these flights is 3,352. Out of these, 1796 were evacuated through Romania, 430 through Poland and 1126 through Hungary. As many as 15 flights are scheduled over the next 24 hours, many of which are already en route.
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. (ANI)