Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed wholehearted admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proactive efforts in evacuating stranded Indian citizens from Ukraine amid the ongoing military conflict with Russia.
Speaking at a civic reception in London during his official visit to the UK, Singh disclosed that PM Modi engaged in diplomatic discussions with the leaders of both Russia and Ukraine to secure a safe corridor for the return of Indian students.
Singh credited the Prime Minister's initiatives for a significant four-to-five-hour pause in the conflict, facilitating the safe evacuation of over 22,000 students from Ukraine.
"When a military conflict erupted between Russia and Ukraine, parents of our children studying in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine were concerned about their whereabouts and personal safety. Our Prime Minister took it upon himself to ensure the safe return of our students from Ukraine. He rang up Russian President Vladimir Putin and also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. To make sure that any intervention by the US doesn't affect the safe return of our students, he also spoke with President Joe Biden. It was because of his efforts that the fighting was paused for 4-5 hours, enabling the safe evacuation of more than 22,000 students from Ukraine," Singh said.
Singh also underscored India's achievements in public infrastructure development and the digital realm. He mentioned India's exceptional digital transactions record, with 80 crore internet users, and praised the widespread acknowledgment of seamless digital transactions through UPI, amounting to approximately 130 lakh crore transactions.
Meanwhile, in London, members of the Indian diaspora warmly welcomed the Defence Minister with chants of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram' at the Indian High Commission. During the peak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Indian government executed 'Operation Ganga,' organizing 80 flights to evacuate stranded Indians from Ukraine. More than two dozen Union ministers were assigned to monitor the evacuation missions, ensuring a smooth process.
PM Modi delegated four central cabinet colleagues to oversee specific evacuation efforts in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Poland. The government fast-tracked the plan to bring back stranded Indians from Ukraine, even amid the ongoing military conflict. Various ministers were personally assigned to receive fellow nationals at Delhi and Mumbai airports as they returned under 'Operation Ganga.' The list of ministers involved in these efforts includes Jyotiraditya Scindia, Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju, VK Singh, Jitendra Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Rao Inderjeet Singh, and many others.