New Delhi: An Indian Air Force aircraft took off for Romania early Wednesday morning to join India’s efforts to evacuate its citizens from neighbouring conflict-ravaged Ukraine.
More flights will be operated by the IAF when required.
The aircraft – a C-17 Globemaster – is the largest transport plane operated by the IAF.
Manufactured by American firm Boeing, the C-17s are a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed aircraft with a rear-loading ramp and have been a force multiplier for the military across the world.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on the IAF on Tuesday to fly their planes to Ukraine’s border countries where Indian citizens and students are crossing over.
India’s rescue mission, Operation Ganga, has been imbued with a fresh sense of urgency, after relentless shelling in Kharkiv killed an Indian final-year medical student on Tuesday.
Modi chaired a high-level meeting Tuesday evening – his fourth in two days – to further strengthen rescue efforts.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Modi expressed his “deep anguish” over the medical student’s death in Kharkiv.
Shringla said 26 flights would bring back citizens from the conflict zone in the next few days.
Modi also spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda to share concerns over Ukraine. He thanked Duda for relaxing visa requirements for Indians crossing over to his country.