On PM Modi’s direction, Rajiv Gauba, the Cabinet Secretary of India, spoke to the Chief Secretary of States and briefed them along with district collectors the steps taken by the Centre for the safe evacuation of Indian students from war-hit Ukraine.
NEW DELHI: Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the Union Cabinet Secretary on Monday spoke to the Chief Secretary of States and directed them along with district collectors to contact the family members of the Indian students stranded in Ukraine and keep them posted about arrangements being made by the Centre.
On PM Narendra Modi’s direction, Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba spoke to the Chief Secretary of the States and briefed them about the steps taken by the Centre for the safe evacuation of Indian students from war-hit Ukraine.
The development came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a high-level meeting to discuss the Russia-Ukraine situation and the safety of Indian nationals stranded in the war-hit eastern European nation. Some Union Ministers may go to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuations of Indian nationals, the sources said.
Top ministers including Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and Gen V K Singh may travel to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation mission and help students, they said.
PM Modi had on Sunday also chaired a high-level meeting with his cabinet ministers including Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Sunday to discuss the issue. The Prime Minister said that the government will do whatever possible to bring back all the citizens stranded in Ukraine.
Addressing a rally in Basti, PM Modi said, “By running Operation Ganga, we are bringing back thousands of Indians home. Our sons, daughters still stranded in Ukraine will be brought back. The government is working day and night for them…Wherever there is trouble, we left no stone unturned to bring our citizens back.”
Meanwhile, Air India’s two evacuation flights, one from the Romanian capital Bucharest and another from Hungarian capital Budapest, carrying 490 Indian nationals who were stranded in Ukraine landed at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning.
India on Saturday began the evacuation of its stranded citizens amid the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, with the first evacuation flight, AI1944, bringing back 219 people from Bucharest to Mumbai in the evening.
The second evacuation flight, AI1942, departed from Bucharest with 250 Indian citizens and landed at the Delhi airport around 2.45 am on Sunday, the officials said. Air India’s third evacuation flight, AI1940, departed from Budapest with 240 Indian nationals and landed at the Delhi airport around 9.20 am on Sunday, the officials noted.
An Air India spokesperson said the airline’s fourth evacuation flight is expected to come from Bucharest to Delhi with evacuees on Sunday afternoon. The spokesperson said the carrier plans to send two more planes to Bucharest and Budapest on Sunday so that they can operate fifth and sixth evacuation flights but it is “all highly tentative”.
The Ukrainian airspace has been closed for civil aircraft operations since February 24 morning when the Russian military offensive began. Therefore, the Indian evacuation flights are operating out of Bucharest and Budapest.
Indian nationals, who reached the Ukraine-Romania border and Ukraine-Hungary border, were taken to Bucharest and Budapest, respectively, by road with the assistance of Indian government officials so that they could be evacuated in these Air India flights.