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PM asks IAF to join evacuation operation from Ukraine

Anticipating the enormity of the situation in Ukraine as around 14,000 Indian nationals are still in the war-torn country, the government officials said that the IAF is ready with an evacuation plan.

IANS | New Delhi |

In order to scale up the ongoing evacuation efforts under ‘Operational Ganga’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to join the evacuation efforts, sources said here.

“Leveraging the capacities of our Air Force will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame and it will also help deliver humanitarian aid more efficiently,” the sources further said.

The Indian Air Force is likely to deploy several C-17 aircrafts as part of Operation Ganga from Tuesday, they added.

Anticipating the enormity of the situation in Ukraine as around 14,000 Indian nationals are still in the war-torn country, the government officials said that the IAF is ready with an evacuation plan.

The inclusion of IAF transport aircraft to carry out the evacuation efforts was necessary because thousands of Indians are stuck in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa.

The External Affairs Ministry on Tuesday advised all Indian nationals to leave Ukraine’s capital as soon as possible as the situation in Kyiv was getting worse day by day by the attacks of the Russian Army, the officials, who are aware of the developments, said.

IAF transport aircraft like C-17 Globemaster has a large carrying capacity and a big number of evacuees can be ferried from the neighbouring countries of the Ukraine in comparison with civil airlines, they further said, adding that the IAF pilots are trained to fly safely in war-like situations.

Prime Minister Modi is personally monitoring the evacuation mission and he has chaired three high-level meetings till Monday evening.

Till now, over 1600 Indian students have been evacuated from the Ukraine till this morning as the seventh Air India Express flight landed in Mumbai with 182 Indians, mostly students, who departed from Budapest (Hungary) at midnight Monday.

During the high-level meeting held on Monday evening, PM Modi has directed the Ministry of External Affairs officials to make proper arrangements for the students who will be coming to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania till they depart for India.

The four senior Cabinet Ministers, who have been designated as Prime Minister’s ‘Special Envoy’ are departing to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania to oversee the evacuation mission. The visit of four senior ministers to these nations will energise the evacuation efforts. Modi has already talked to the Prime Ministers of Romania and Slovakia for support in evacuating Indians through their countries.