IAF in ‘Operation Ganga’

Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 transport aircraft has now been deployed into “Operation Ganga”, in order to evacuate stranded Indian nationals in Ukraine. Ukrainian airspace was shut down on February 24, 2022, in the aftermath of Russian military offensive.

Highlights

  • C-17 left from Hindon base near Delhi for Romania on March 2, to bring back Indian citizens from Ukraine.
  • The aircraft has the capacity to carry around 300 passengers.
  • This decision was taken after PM Modi asked the IAF to join Operation Ganga.
  • Over the next three days, 26 flights have been scheduled to rescue Indian citizens.
  • Airports in Bucharest, Budapest, Poland and the Slovak Republic will be used to operate evacuation flights.
  • Before IAF joined in, only private Indian carriers had been evacuating Indians from Romania and Hungary.
  • As the Ukrainian airspace shut, Indian government has been ferrying Indian citizens to Romanian border. From Romania, evacuated Indians are being taken to Bucharest which is a nine hours’ drive from border. From there, Indians board an Air India flight to India.

India’s humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

In another development, India is sending humanitarian aid and medical supplies to Ukraine. A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is sent 100 tents and 2,500 blankets to the Hindon airbase of Indian Air Force. From there, assistance was sent to Romania, the neighbouring country of Ukraine. More flights carrying relief material were departed from Delhi to Poland.

Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine

Ukraine is witnessing a major humanitarian crisis after Russian forces launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, 300 civilians including 14 children, have been killed so far. Russian forces have sieged two strategic Ukrainian seaports. Russia’s defence ministry announced that it had captured Kherson. However, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy later responded that, Ukrainian side was continuing to defend Kherson. Overnight shelling by Russia in Izyum area of Kharkiv took life of eight people, including two children.

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