648 Indians Return Home; No Hostages Held: GoI
- Three C-17 carriers by IAF landed at Hindon Air Base, Delhi.
- As many as 648 Indians returned from Bucharest and Budapest.
- Centre denies reports of Indian students taken ‘hostage’.
New Delhi: As many as 648 Indians arrived on the intervening nights of March 2nd and 3rd on C-17 aircraft engaged by the IAF under Operation Ganga. The first C-17 landed at Hindon airbase Delhi carrying 200 stranded Indians from Bucharest, Romania at around 1:30 am on Thursday. The second flight touched down with 210 passengers from Hungary and the third flight brought back 208 stranded citizens from Poland.
The GoI denied reports of Indian students taken ‘hostages’ in Ukraine, stating it was constantly in touch with Indian officials in the war-torn land. “We have not received reports of any hostage situation regarding any student. We have requested the support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The clarification came after the Russian military officials claimed Ukrainian forces held a large group of Indians as ‘hostages’ in the Eastern city, Kharkiv.
A safe passage for stranded Indians in Kharkiv- virtually controlled by Kremlin, was requested by PM Modi during his conversation with his Russian counterpart, late on Thursday evening. It is learnt that Putin has promised to create ‘humanitarian corridors; for evacuation of stranded Indians from the conflict zones. PM Modi also held a high-level meeting to discuss steps to expedite the safe evacuation of remaining nationals under Op-Ganga.