New Delhi: Tired but filled with relief, Indian nationals evacuated from war-torn Ukraine smiled and flashed the victory sign as they emerged from the Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft that ferried them back to the country late Thursday.
Since early Thursday morning, four IAF aircraft with evacuated Indians have landed at the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The IAF is conducting evacuation operations using the C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft.
India has been evacuating its citizens under ‘Operation Ganga’ through special flights from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since 24 February due to the war by Russia.
The IAF’s four evacuation flights with 798 Indians came from the Romanian capital Bucharest, Hungary’s Budapest and Polish city Rzeszow, according to the defence ministry.
The first IAF flight carrying 200 people from Bucharest landed at 1.30 am Thursday. Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt greeted the students at the airbase.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia explained that the evacuation operation is divided into four parts. “First is to bring all our students from Ukraine to neighbouring country borders; second is to enable them to cross the border into the neighbouring country,” an ANI report quoted him as saying.
“The third part is to bring them from the border of the neighbouring country to the site of embarkation for the airports, and the fourth is to evacuate them safely to India,” he added.
ThePrint’s photojournalist Suraj Singh Bisht brings glimpses from the Hindon airbase as the evacuated nationals, many of them students, disembarked from IAF aircraft after a harrowing week amid tanks and bombs.