New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has called for a series of high-level meetings as it plans contingency measures to evacuate Indian nationals from Ukraine, ThePrint has learnt.
“High-level meetings in MEA are going on. Contingency plans are being put into operation,” said an official source.
The sources said that, given the closure of Ukraine’s airspace Thursday, alternative evacuation routes are being activated.
Additional Russian-speaking officials have also been sent to the Indian embassy in Kyiv. They are also being deployed in countries neighbouring Ukraine, sources added.
“Our embassy in Ukraine is functional and its advisories should be followed carefully. We are closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation. The focus is on the safety and security of Indians, particularly students,” the official said.
The MEA control room is being expanded and made operational on a 24×7 basis.
India has already issued three advisories so far since tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine and the NATO allies.
India calls for ‘immediate de-escalation’
At a meeting of the UN Security Council, India’s ambassador to the UN, TS Tirumurti, said, “The situation is in danger of spiraling into a major crisis. We express our deep concern over the developments, which if not handled carefully, may well undermine the peace and security of the region.”
He also said, “We call for immediate de-escalation and refraining from any further action that could contribute to a worsening of the situation. We call on all parties to exert greater efforts to bridge divergent interests. I would like to underline that the legitimate security interests of all parties should be fully taken into account.”
“I underline once again that more than 20,000 Indian nationals, including students, are located in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas. We are facilitating the return of all Indian nationals, including Indian students, as required,” he added.