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13,000 Indians moved out of Ukraine under Operation Ganga: CNN News 18 anchor asks why Indian students were not evacuated ‘earlier’. What Jyotiraditya Scindia said

While speaking to CNN-News 18, Scindia was asked about the supposed 'late' evacuation by the Centre. "Why couldn't it have been done earlier? Why did you wait till the situation became so bad for the incoming students?" quizzed 'journalist' Pallavi Ghosh.

Amidst the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia informed that about 13,000 Indian students have been safely evacuated to the neighbouring countries and only 1000 more Indian nationals are still stuck in war-torn Ukraine.

While speaking to CNN-News 18, Scindia was asked about the supposed ‘late’ evacuation by the Centre. “Why couldn’t it have been done earlier? Why did you wait till the situation became so bad for the incoming students?” quizzed ‘journalist’ Pallavi Ghosh.

He remarked, “Any government or Opposition party cannot preempt when the war is going to break out. And the day the war broke out, from that day onwards, we have been working 24/7 to ensure that all our children could get out. There were 19760 odd children in Ukraine. Prior to the war breaking out, through the advisories, about 4800 children had left.”

Jyotiraditya Scindia informed, “So, we had roughly about 14000 students left after the war broke out. We have roughly about 1000 or so odd students left in Ukraine. We have moved out close to 13000 students over the last 6 days, safely from Ukraine to all our neighbouring countries and being moved to India.”

On being asked about using the allegations of using Operation Ganga as a Public Relations (PR) exercise, the BJP leader responded, “My heart and soul is with every child. When I landed at 10:30 in the night, I was at the airport till 2 am, trying to reassure every child, understand their pain points. (I was not focused) on the elections, Opposition or criticism.”

“I have been given a task and that is the only thing that I am concentrating on. There are people, who even in times of emergency wants to sit and criticise. That is something that I cannot help. If there is an ostrich in the sand approach of just criticising, then, this is not my mentality,” he concluded.

Earlier on Thursday (March 3), Jyotiraditya Scindia had informed that 18 flights were scheduled for the day to evacuate Indian nationals from neighbouring countries of Ukraine. The destinations included Bucharest and Suceava in Romania, Kosice in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary and Rzeszow in Poland.

On February 15 this year, the Indian embassy in Ukraine had issued the first advisory, urging Indian nationals to immediately evacuate the country in the run-up to the full-fledged war. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, a total of 18000 Indians had been moved out of Ukraine since February 15, 2022.

“30 flights under Operation Ganga have brought back 6,400 Indians from Ukraine so far,” he informed on Thursday (March 3). It must be mentioned that by Tuesday (March 1), the Indian government had evacuated over 9000 Indian nationals.

The Central Government on Wednesday (March 2) confirmed that 60% of the Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine have crossed the borders and are safe amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The government added that it was undertaking all possible efforts to evacuate the remaining 40% as well.

“We will continue to make utmost efforts to ensure the return our citizens stranded in Ukraine,” ANI had tweeted, citing government sources.

Operation Ganga to the rescue

The Indian government has started an evacuation operation named ‘Operation Ganga’ for the stranded Indian students. Several special flights have been running from Poland, Romania, and Hungary to bring the students home.

It must be mentioned that the Ukrainian airspace was closed for civilian aircraft from Thursday (February 24) morning onwards. As such, the Indian embassy in Ukraine had to coordinate with the embassies of neighbouring countries in Poland, Romania and Hungary for the creation of safe evacuation channels.

Under ‘Operation Ganga’, Indians were first taken in batches from Ukraine to bordering countries (currently Hungary and Romania) via buses/commute arranged by the embassy. They were then airlifted to Delhi or Mumbai through chartered Air India flights.

The Indian government had sent its 4 Union Ministers, namely, Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and General (Retd) VK Singh to Hungary, Romania and Moldova, Slovakia, and Poland respectively, to coordinate the Operation Ganga

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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