NEW DELHI: Signalling an expeditious mission to bring back stranded students and other Indians from Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to send senior ministers as special envoy to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to coordinate the evacuation process.
“Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, Hardeep Puri, Kiren Rijiju and Gen VK Singh to travel to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation mission and help students. These Ministers will be going as Special Envoys of India,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
India is using neighbouring countries of Ukraine such as Romania and Hungary to take Indian students out of Kyiv as the Ukrainian air space has been closed in the wake of the Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine and other parts of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting on Monday morning to discuss the evacuation plan. In the meeting, it was decided that the ministers will travel soon to select countries to handle any diplomatic hurdles to bring back Indians through these nations.
On Sunday, PM Modi held a meeting with foreign minister S Jaishankar and key officials that lasted for more than two hours. In the meeting, Modi said that ensuring safety of Indian students and evacuating them is the top priority of the government. It was also discussed that New Delhi will seek enhanced cooperation with neighbouring countries of Ukraine to expedite evacuation.
The decision to send senior ministers as special envoys also comes after video clips of some border forces aggressively confronting and manhandling Indian students surfaced on social media.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took note of the video and tweeted, “My heart goes out to the Indian students suffering such violence and their family watching these videos. No parent should go through this. GOI must urgently share the detailed evacuation plan with those stranded as well as their families. We can’t abandon our own people.”
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi too, appealed to Modi and Jaishankar and said, “The videos of Indian students coming from Ukraine are very disturbing. For God’s sake, do whatever it takes to bring these children back to India. The whole nation is with these students and their families.”
About 2,000 Indian citizens have been brought back to the country from the war-torn Ukraine so far, the centre said on Sunday.