How Modi’s “Mazboot” Diplomacy led to final evacuation of Indians from Sumy
How true leadership looks like? One can easily witness it in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration. While the world is watching in distress unfolding of Russian invasion in Ukraine with scores of people stuck and some managing to flee the country, the Indian Prime Minister displayed the real diplomatic strength of his strong relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. On Monday, Mr. Modi made two separate calls to Russian and Ukrainian leaders, and that set the ball rolling for final lapse of evacuation Operation Ganga. Over 700 Indian citizens along with those from India’s neighboring countries have been evacuated from Sumy in north-eastern Ukraine.
An official privy to the crucial calls and evacuation efforts on late Tuesday said, “In both calls, the leaders gave their green signal and told the Prime Minister that they did not have a problem with safe passage.” These calls by PM Modi were a final push to evacuation efforts as officials in Kyiv and Moscow got instructions after that to clear the deck and enable a “humanitarian corridor” for evacuation.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was also making calls in this direction. The two Indian ambassadors – Partha Satpathy in Kyiv and Pavan Kapoor in Moscow liaised with top officials in the two cities to facilitate the process on Tuesday. Red Cross in Geneva too came into action as they contacted their unit in Ukraine for helping in some arrangements for evacuation.
As the apprehension was at its peak, the students were asked to refrain from sharing anything on social media. Three teams of Indian officials and local embassy staff were stationed in three different cities near Sumy. Through joint efforts, finally, the buses were able to reach Sumy. But challenges weren’t limited – it was hard to find drivers, there was a fuel shortage and vehicles were under the control of Ukrainian army personnel. But local contacts were quite helpful at this time.
Steering through all challenges, finally, 12 buses could reach Sumy from where they were able to pick up hundreds of students waiting eagerly to be evacuated. The buses then had to reach Poltava in central Ukraine by late Tuesday night.
From there, the students will be transported to another country through train to the western border. After about a day of paperwork, students will be flown down to India by the morning of March 10 or 11 on at least three aircraft.
Standing strong on his promises, PM Narendra Modi ensured that no Indian student is left behind. But he also went a step ahead to ensure the evacuation of students from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina thanked PM Modi for rescuing 9 Bangladeshi citizens from Ukraine. A Pakistani student, identified as Asma Shafique, thanked Indian authorities for rescuing her from Ukraine. “I am really thankful to the Indian Embassy of Kyiv and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for evacuating me. Thank you so much for support,” she said.