- Over 15,920 students were evacuated from Ukraine in over 73 flights
- Operation Ganga, which was initiated to bring back the Indians, was one of most successful missions
- Apart from Indian Air Force, several domestic carriers joined in to help
War spares none. When the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, the world was busy thinking about which side were we on. But back at home, the government knew it had a huge task at hand. Little did we know that India — which is neutral throughout — would eventually have to carry out one of its biggest airlifts of all time. Till the time evacuations were allowed by both the countries, India brought back over 15,920 Indians from Ukraine, mentioned a report by the ministry of external affairs.
One of the primary challenges of the government was to safely evacuate the students. During the conflict, we were shocked by the news of students being victims of shellings and bombings. Melting snow to slake their thirst and fast running out of food, hundreds of Indian students stood on roads every morning hoping "today is the day" when they will be rescued from the savagery of the war that has engulfed the nation. The wait, however, ended as 73 flights operating under 'Operation Ganga' brought them back to safety.
Under 'Operation Ganga', the flights were operated by Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Indian Air Force.
Here are some of the key moments from the Indian evacuation:
PM Modi spoke to Vladimir Putin over the safe evacuation of Indians
PM Narendra Modi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the safe evacuation of Indian students from war-torn Ukraine, especially its city of Kharkiv. The leaders reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv, where many Indian students are stuck and discussed their evacuation from the conflict areas. The PM had also conducted a high-level meeting in New Delhi on the issue of evacuation of Indian nationals stranded in the war-hit country.
Scindia meets Indian Ambassador to Romania, Moldova on evacuation of Indians
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was overseeing the evacuation efforts of Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine as a Government of India-appointed special envoy, met the Indian Ambassador to Romania and Moldova, Rahul Shrivastava to discuss the operational issues for evacuation and the flight plan from Bucharest and Suceava in the coming days.
Govt sends 4 ministers to oversee the evacuation
The government had stepped up its efforts to evacuate Indian students stranded in war-hit Ukraine. The government is sent four Union Ministers to Ukraine to coordinate the evacuations of stranded Indian nationals. The four Ministers were -- Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and Gen VK Singh. The ministers went as Special Envoys to coordinate with officials of the countries to expedite the evacuation process of Indian nationals.
Indian doctor stuck in Donbas refuses evacuation without 'pets' jaguar, panther
Amid the ongoing tensions in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, an Indian doctor had refused to get evacuated from the country. He said he didn't want to abandon his pets, a panther and a leopard. The man, named Girikumar Patil, is currently residing in a bunker in Ukraine's Severodonestk with his two 'big cats'.
His current place of hiding also falls in the conflicted Donbas region, which was declared independent by Russia before it invaded Ukraine. He told news agency ANI, that he tried contacting the Indian embassy but didn't get a proper response. "I called the embassy but didn't get a proper response. My place is surrounded by Russians but I'm trying my best. I treat them like my kids," he said.