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Operation Ganga: Emergency certificates to Indians who lost passports, IAF roped in for evacuation

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday briefed the nation on the evacuation of stranded Indian students (‘Operation Ganga’) and informed that a total of 3,352 Indians have returned to the country. In the last 24 hours, 6 flights have landed in India, taking the total number of flights that have landed in India to 15 bringing back 3,352 people, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. As many as 15 flights are scheduled over the next 24 hours. Some of these are already actually enroute, he said. In a new advisory, India told its citizens to leave Kharkiv, proceed to settlements ‘even on foot’ if there are no vehicles. A mechanism for issuing emergency certificates to those who lost their Indian passports has been instituted. I think this will also help many Indian students, he added.

  1. There has been a sharp increase in the number of Indians who have left Ukraine. We now estimate that nearly 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine borders since our advisories were issued in the last week of January, MEA said.
  2. The advisory that has just been issued by our Embassy is on the basis of information received from Russia. We would urge all our nationals to leave Kharkiv immediately to safe zones or further westwards using any means available, including on foot, & keeping safety in mind, it said.
  3. Cities in eastern Ukraine remain an area of concern. Encouraging reports that some students were able to board trains out of Kharkiv last night, today morning… We’ve been in communication with Russian side regarding safe passage of our nationals from Kharkiv and other cities, they mentioned.
  4. Indian Air Force aircraft have joined #OperationGanga with the first C-17 flight from Bucharest (Romania) expected to return to Delhi later tonight. 3 more IAF flights will be undertaken today from Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania) & Rzeszow (Poland), Arindam Bagchi informed.
  5. The Embassy (in Kyiv) was asked to set up a temporary office in Lviv to facilitate border crossings by Indians. A substantial segment of our Embassy team is now at Lviv for this purpose. Location of the other segment of the Embassy team is dynamic.
  6. We are exploring options to reach eastern Ukraine to assist the evacuation of citizens who are stuck there. We are seeing if our teams can reach there, it’s not easy because the route is not open all the time, MEA said.
  7. In principle, we’re always ready to help other countries. If we get a specific request on it, then our stand will be guided by it. If we get an opportunity like that, and we are able to do it, then we will definitely help.
  8. Prime Minister has been speaking to leaders of several countries. We share with you whenever such talks take place. I would not like to say anything beforehand, said MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi when asked if PM Modi will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin again tonight.
  9. A special flight carrying Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine reached Delhi, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy welcomed them at the airport.
  10. Speaking on the death of another Indian national, MEA said, Chandan Jindal, an Indian national in Ukraine’s Vinnytsia lost his life due to natural causes. His family members are also in Ukraine.
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