New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the first Indian casualty of the Russia-Ukraine war, and in a seeming effort order to scale up the ongoing evacuation efforts of Indians stranded in Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called upon the Indian Air Force (IAF) to join Operation Ganga. “Leveraging the capacities of our Air Force will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame. It will also help deliver humanitarian aid more efficiently,” PM Modi said.
The Indian Government has launched Operation Ganga to evacuate Indians, mostly students, from Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia last week.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the third high-level meeting chaired by him in the past 24 hours on the Ukraine crisis. Earlier today, PM Modi met President Ramnath Kovind and briefed him on various issues, including India’s response to the Ukraine situation.
Meanwhile, the father of deceased Indian student Naveen Shekhararappa Gyanagoudar has alleged that no one from the Indian Embassy in Ukraine reached out to stranded Indian students in Kharkiv, where Naveen was a fourth-year student of medicine. He was killed in shelling around noon Indian time, amid a Russian military offensive, when he ventured out of his bunker to buy food, his father Shekaragouda and uncle Ujjanagouda told PTI on Tuesday.
Shekaragouda’s residence in Karnataka’s Haveri district sank into gloom as news of their son’s death came in, with neighbours thronging the house to console the bereaved family. Shekaragouda claimed that no one from the Indian Embassy had reached out to the students in Kharkiv, which has been under heavy attack.
Ujjanagouda said Naveen, along with others from Karnataka, was stuck in a bunker in Kharkiv, and had gone out in the morning to exchange currency and fetch some food, when he was caught in the shelling. It appears as though he was killed instantaneously. When he last rang his father on Tuesday, Naveen said there was no food or water in the bunker, Ujjanagouda claimed.
On hearing of the tragedy, both PM Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai called Shekaragouda on the phone and expressed sorrow. Bommai assured the bereaved father that he would make every effort to bring back his son’s remains to India, and was in touch with officials in the External Affairs Ministry.