Despite challenges posed by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, govt ensured the safe return of 22,500 citizens

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 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that despite the challenges posed by the serious ongoing conflict, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government ensured the safe return of about 22,500 citizens. Hostilities placed the Indian community of 20,000 plus in direct danger, the EAM said while issuing a statement on India’s ‘Operation Ganga’ in the Rajya Sabha adding that the evacuation exercise was undertaken at a time when military actions, including airstrikes and shelling, were underway.

‘Operation Ganga’ involved movement in a war-torn situation in a large country, at times over 1000 km and required exiting border checkpoints clogged by an estimated 26 lakh refugees, he said.

Explaining the complexity of the operation in the upper house, the EAM said that while India was participating in global deliberations of this evolving situation in UNSC, the pressing challenge was to safeguard our citizens and ensure that they weren’t in harm’s way.

The entire exercise involved a whole of government approach, with PM Modi himself chairing review meetings almost on a daily basis, he said.

Elaborating on the role played by the MEA, he said that the ministry monitored evacuation ops on a 24/7 basis and received excellent support from all concerned ministries and organizations, including MoCA, Defence, NDRF, IAF, and private airlines. “As tensions increased, Indian Embassy in Ukraine started a registration drive for Indians in January 2022.

As a result, around 20,000 Indians registered. Most Indian nationals were students pursuing medical studies in Ukrainian universities dispersed throughout the country,” the EAM said.

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