NEW DELHI: A year ago, the Narendra Modi led-government undertook what looked like a massive challenge to rescue Indian students from Ukraine which was in the middle of a war with Russia.
While the advisories were issued to students amongst other steps, a task force was formed comprising of 4 Union Ministers- Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and General (R) VK Singh were sent to 4 neighbouring countries to coordinate the rescue operation.
This operation was called Operation Ganga. So why was it called Operation Ganga?
“Prime Minister Modi during that period had just come back from his constituency Varanasi and while the discussion was taking place, amongst several other names zeroed in on Ganga name for the operation,” a senior official told ANI.
The Ganges is not just a huge water resource but is worshipped across India.
“The idea behind the naming was that just the way Ganga is called Ma Ganga, it protects us, similarly this rescue operation was to protect and bring back its children to safety,” a senior Union Minister told ANI.
A senior Union Minister said that this is not the only mission, but the rescue operation undertaken by India when Afghanistan was under attack by the Taliban was called Operation Devi Shakti. PM Modi is a big devotee of Goddess Durga, just like Durga protects the good from the bad and wards away all demons, similarly, it was the Devi Shakti or the power of the Goddess that would protect its people from violence, was the idea why this mission got its name.
Operation Ganga which began on February 26 till March 11- saw hundreds of students return home from Ukraine via neighbouring nations like Romania, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and Slovakia.
As per the government records, more than 20,000 Indians were in Ukraine at the time of the crisis of which close to 18,000 were students. The first flight from Bucharest brought 249 students to safety in Delhi on February 27.
By 6 March about 16,000 Indians had been flown to India in 76 flights. Flights by the Indian Air Force and private flight operators like Indigo Air India and Spice Jet resulted in bringing citizens back.
The last lot of close to 600 students were rescued out of Sumy via a safety corridor. This was one of the last legs of the rescue operation but the riskiest, say the officials who coordinated the same.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to ensure their safe exit via the humanitarian corridor on 8th March.
“A lot of thought is put into every minute detail – like logistics, diplomatic channelling and even the message that it sends. The Prime Minister has his involvement in every minute detailing,” a senior official tells ANI.
Most recently India was sent to rescue and relief the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria and that was named Operation Dost. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams canines teams went into the disaster zone to execute swift relief operations.
The nationals only had words of thanks for their Indian (Hindustani) friends. Turkish Ambassador to India Firat Sunel said, “Dost kara gunde belli olur (a friend in need is a friend indeed). Thank you very much India”. That’s how the term Operation Dost came into being.
The term Dost both in Hindi and Turkish language means friend. (ANI)