- India has launched 'Operation Ganga' to bring back stranded citizens from the war-torn Ukraine
- PM Modi has held multiple meetings over the evacuation of Indian citizens from Ukraine
- The government will fly as many as 26 flights in the next 3 days to evacuate stranded citizens
As many as 31 evacuation flights will be operated to neighbouring countries of crisis-hit Ukraine and will bring back more than 6,300 Indians stranded in the eastern European nation, according to official sources.
Under 'Operation Ganga', the flights will be operated by Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Indian Air Force. From March 2, 21 evacuation flights will be operated to bring back Indians from Bucharest in Romania, while 4 will be from Budapest in Hungary, the sources said. Further, 4 flights will be operated to bring back people from Rzeszow in Poland and 1 flight from Kocise in Slovakia.
Indian Air Force will be bringing back Indians from Bucharest. Together, the planned 31 flights -- from March 2 till March 8 -- will be coming back with more than 6,300 people.
The sources on Wednesday said Air India Express and SpiceJet planes have a capacity for around 180 people while Air India and IndiGo can carry up to 250 and 216 passengers, respectively.
While Air India Express will be operating a total of 7 flights, SpiceJet will press 4 flights into service. Air India will operate 7 flights and IndiGo will fly back people in 12 flights. Air India Express and Air India will be flying in people from Bucharest while IndiGo has planned 4 flights each from Bucharest, Budapest and Rzeszow. SpiceJet will operate 2 flights from Bucharest, 1 from Budapest and 1 from Kocise in Slovakia.
The sources said 9 evacuation flights have brought back Indians stranded in Ukraine since February 26, and around 5-6 flights are "underway".
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that six flights under 'Operation Ganga' have departed for India in the last 24 hours.
"#OperationGanga developments. Six flights have now departed for India in the last 24 hours. Includes the first flights from Poland. Carried back 1,377 more Indian nationals from Ukraine," he said in a tweet this morning.
On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that around 2,000 Indians have returned to their homeland, while 4,000-5,000 are getting ready to be brought back by flights.
Amid the Russian offensive against Ukraine, India started the evacuation of around 14,000 of its stranded citizens in the Eastern European country on February 26.