Operation Ganga: IAF’s C-17 with 208 Indian nationals reaches Hindon airbase

Operation Ganga IAF's C-17 with 208 Indian nationals reaches Hindon airbase

GHAZIABAD: Third Indian Air Force’s C-17 aircraft carrying 208 Indian citizens from Ukraine landed at Hindon airbase near Delhi from Rzeszow in Poland on Thursday. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt received the Indian citizens on their arrival and interacted with them.

While talking to ANI, students said that they brought pets along with them.

“I have brought my friend’s dog with me from Ukraine. Many people who had dogs left them behind in Ukraine but I brought back this dog along with me”, said Zahid, a student rescued from Ukraine. Gautam, who has brought back his pet cat from Ukraine, said the cat had been with him for the last four months. He further said that the cat had stayed with him in the bunker.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued orders to the Air Force to pitch in the rescue operations to augment the level of Operation Ganga. Notably, the American C-17 Globemasters and IL-76 transport aircraft are the most capable of flying long distances with around 400 passengers. The C-17 transport aircraft had helped in a big way in evacuating citizens and officials from Kabul when the Taliban captured Afghanistan and forced Americans to exit from there.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said nine flights took off on Thursday from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland.

“Nine flights have taken off today from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland, including IAF aircraft. 6 flights more are expected to depart shortly. Altogether, will bring back more than 3,000 Indian nationals,” tweeted Jaishankar.

A total of 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the advisories were issued and flights under Operation Ganga have been increased to facilitate the evacuation of remaining students stranded in Ukraine.

The students who left Ukraine also included some Indians who had not registered with the Embassy of India in Kyiv previously. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting on the issue. The meeting was attended by Union Ministers S Jaishankar, Piyush Goyal, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and other officials.

For the past few days, the Prime Minister has been chairing crucial meetings on the issue. Russian forces launched military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities.

Several countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Moscow. These countries have also promised Ukraine to help Ukraine with military weapons.

The US, Canada and European allies agreed to remove key Russian banks from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT which means Russian banks won’t be able to communicate securely with banks beyond Russia’s borders. President Putin has also signed a decree on special economic measures against the US and its allies. (ANI)