Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Know the measure being taken to evacuate Indians

Delhi : Government of India’s multi-pronged evacuation plan titled Operation Ganga is acquiring greater dimensions with each passing day, bringing back around 1000 Indian citizens in five flights till date, evacuating many more people out of the conflict zones into safer places and providing all possible relief to the stranded Indians in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries where Indians have taken shelter.

The government has made it clear that the evacuation process will be at government cost given the prevailing emergency situation. India has issued a number of advisories for its citizens. 4,000 of Indian nationals had left before the conflict started pursuant to these advisories. About 15,000 Indian citizens are left in Ukraine when Operation Ganga commenced. Since the airspace in Ukraine was closed after the conflict commenced, land evacuation options through four neighbouring countries- Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, were identified.

For safe evacuation of Indian citizens, specific border crossing points have been identified with each of these countries and the MEA has deployed teams and Russian speaking officers to go there and assist in the evacuation process. Indian embassy in Kiev has established a 24/7 control room. In India too, there is a 24/7 control room for the purpose.

Around 1000 students have crossed over from Ukraine into zones, which are conducive for their evacuation by air back to India. According to the Government of India, flights for these evacuees are being organized. Border crossings to Hungary and Romania are functioning. However, the exit point to Poland is generally clogged from what we can see now due to lakhs of Ukrainian and foreign nationals trying to leave the country from that point.

Explaining in details, Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary, said that the evacuation plan is taking into account all possible dimensions. Certain border crossings are more effective and some are obviously problematic. Those who are near the borders with Hungary, Romania and Slovak Republic are guided towards their respective border points in phases.Indian Embassy in Kiev is operational. Obviously, hostilities in the area are making regular activity difficult. However, a number of Indian citizens, particularly students continue to be in cities in the East of Ukraine and the South East of Ukraine.

India has also contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and its permanent representative in Geneva has spoken to the President of the ICRC. The ICRC is commencing its operations in Ukraine, making them cognizant of the needs of Indian citizens and wherever possible to escort them out. Indian is shared with the ICRC the location of the main sort of areas where Indian communities are centered.

Shringla said that approximately 2000 Indian citizens are in Kiev. The numbers are larger, but many of them have begun to move westwards. Various MEA teams are in different parts of the country essentially along the borders with Hungary and Slovakia with Poland and down with Romania and Moldova.  They keep going in and out of Ukraine, but they are along the border areas there.

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