Flights carrying students land in Delhi; India expresses gratitude to Russia, Ukraine, Red Cross

The flight, which was conducted by the IAF using its C-17 military transport plane, landed at the air base here at 12.15 pm.

Published: 11th March 2022 01:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2022 01:33 PM   |  A+A-

Indian nationals, evacuated from war-torn Ukraine, on their arrival at the Hindon airbase, in Ghaziabad.(Representational photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: An Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft from Poland's Rzeszow carrying students evacuated from northeastern Ukrainian city Sumy landed at the Hindon air base here on Friday afternoon, officials said.

The flight, which was conducted by the IAF using its C-17 military transport plane, landed at the air base here at 12.15 pm.

This is the second of the three flights being operated by India on Friday -- one each by Air India, IndiGo and the IAF -- from Rzezow to Delhi to bring back 600 students who have recently been evacuated from Sumy.

The first flight had taken off from Rzeszow around 11.30 pm (IST) on Thursday and landed in Delhi at 5.45 am on Friday, officials said.

India has been evacuating its citizens from war-torn Ukraine's neighbouring countries such as Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.

India on Friday expressed its gratitude to Ukraine, Russia and the Red Cross for helping it evacuate its citizens from various Ukrainian cities in the midst of the ongoing war.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a post on Twitter, specifically mentioned that the evacuation of Indian students from the northeastern city of Sumy was "particularly challenging".

He also thanked the neighbouring countries of Ukraine -- Romania, Hungary Poland, Slovakia and Moldova -- for their "exceptional support" in bringing back the Indian nationals under the evacuation mission 'Operation Ganga'.

"Operation Ganga, undertaken at the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered due to both leadership and commitment. We are thankful to all those who facilitated its objectives," Jaishankar said.

"Our particular gratitude to the authorities in Ukraine and Russia as well as the Red Cross for the evacuation assistance. Ukraine's neighbours -- Romania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova gave us exceptional support. My sincerest thanks to them," he said.

India evacuated around 600 Indian nationals from conflict-ridden Sumy city on Tuesday after Russia and Ukraine provided a humanitarian corridor for their exit following New Delhi's intense diplomatic engagement with the two sides.

India has brought back around 18,000 Indians under 'Operation Ganga' which was launched on February 26, two days after Russia launched its military offensive on Ukraine.

"We are grateful to NGOs, individual volunteers, corporates, our airlines and the Indian Air Force who worked so tirelessly in this exercise," Jaishankar said.

The external affairs minister also appreciated the role played by his ministerial colleagues Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri and General (Retd) VK Singh in the evacuation mission.

Puri, Rijiju, Scindia and Singh were in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Poland respectively to coordinate evacuation efforts.

"Appreciate the contribution of my four ministerial colleagues, Shri Jyotiraditya M Scindia, Shri Kiren Rijiju, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, and General (Retd) VK Singh whose presence on the ground made a big difference," Jaishankar said.

"Applaud our Embassy in Ukraine and Team MEA for their dedicated efforts in a difficult conflict situation," he added.


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