Operation Ganga


The Government of India has launched a ‘multi-pronged’ initiative named ‘Operation Ganga’.

About Operation Ganga

  • Operation Ganga was launched to help stranded Indian nationals come back to India from Ukraine through special flights amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Since Ukraine is currently a no-fly zone, citizens and students are being evacuated to nearby countries after which they are being flown to India.
  • There were around 20,000 Indians including students stuck in Ukraine.
  • Till now, three Air India flights have been able to bring back more than 900 Indians from Ukraine to India.
  • The Indian evacuation flights are operating from neighbouring countries like Romania and Hungary.
  • The government is also facilitating evacuation of stranded Indians from its borders crossing Romania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

How well is India’s evacuation capability?

  • On 1986, South Yemen was being engulfed in a civil war that threatened the lives of thousands of foreigners living there.
  • While Britain, France and the Soviet Union coordinated to jointly evacuate their nationals, the 850 Indians in the country were forced to wait for several more days till evacuation was facilitated.
  • On April 2015, Yemen was once again under unrest. This time, however, the Indian government successfully conducted Operation Raahat to evacuate almost 5,000 Indians and nearly 1,000 citizens from 41 other countries.
  • Besides Air India aircraft, the Indian Navy deployed vessels, and the Indian Air Force C-17 Globemasters for strategic airlift.
  • Such unprecedented efforts and resources reflect New Delhi’s new drive to protect the lives and assets of its citizens abroad in times of crisis.
  • But most of these operations are successful because of heroic efforts by individual officials or quick-fix solutions. There is no proper protocol or policy setup.

Evacuation Operations carried out by India

Operation Ganga (2022):It is an evacuation mission to bring back all the Indian nationals who are currently stranded in Ukraine.The tensions between Russia and Ukraine are currently heightened, with war erupting in Ukraine after the Russian military launched a series of attacks recently.
Vande Bharat (2020):When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, the Centre launched the Vande Bharat Mission to bring back Indian citizens stranded in foreign countries.In the multiple phases of the operation, about 60 lakh Indians were brought back as on 30th April, 2021
Operation Samudra Setu (2020):It was a naval operation as part of the national effort to bring home Indian citizens from overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic.It successfully brought back 3,992 Indian citizens to their homeland by sea.Indian Naval ships Jalashwa (Landing Platform Dock), and Airavat, Shardul and Magar (Landing Ship Tanks) participated in this operation which lasted over 55 days and involved traversing more than 23,000 km by sea.
Evacuation from Brussels (2016):In March 2016, Belgium was hit by terrorist strikes at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek Metro station in central Brussels.A total of 242 Indians, including 28 crew members, returned to India in a Jet Airways flight.
Operation Raahat (2015):In 2015, a conflict raged between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels.Thousands of Indians were stranded and Yemen was not accessible by air due to a no-fly zone announced by Saudi Arabia.Under Operation Raahat, India evacuated nearly 5,600 people from Yemen.
Operation Maitri (2015):It is the joint relief and rescue operation by the Indian government and the Indian Armed forces in the aftershock of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.The joint Army-Air Force operation brought over 5,000 Indians back from Nepal by Air Force and civilian planes. The Indian army successfully evacuated 170 foreign nationals from the US, the UK, Russia and Germany.
Operation Safe Homecoming (2011):India launched ‘Operation Homecoming’ to bring back Indian citizens stranded in conflict-torn Libya.Under the operation, India evacuated 15,400 Indian nationals.The air-sea operation was conducted by the Indian Navy and Air India.
Operation Sukoon (2006):As Israel and Lebanon broke into military conflict in July 2006, India rescued its stranded citizens by launching this operation, which is now famously known as the ‘Beirut Sealift’.It was the largest naval rescue mission since the ‘Dunkirk’ evacuation.The task force evacuated about 2,280 people including some Nepalese and Sri Lankan nationals between 19th July and 1st August 2006.
1990 Kuwait Airlift (1990):In 1990, when 1,00,000 Iraqi soldiers armed with 700 tanks marched into Kuwait, the royals and VIPs had fled to Saudi Arabia.The general public was left behind to fend for themselves.Over 1,70,000 of those stranded in Kuwait were Indians.India kicked off the evacuation process in which over 1,70,000 Indians were airlifted and repatriated to India.

Source: The Hindu

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