Around 90 Indian students were airlifted from riot-torn south Kyrgyzstan to the relative safety of the central Asian country’s capital, Bishkek, on Monday, in a joint effort by the Indian embassy and Kyrgyz authorities.
“None of the Indian students are injured,” said a spokesman of the Kyrgyz embassy in New Delhi.
The students, most of them studying medicine in Osh and Jalalabad, were shifted to the capital following ethnic violence between Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks. Special chartered aircraft will carry them and others back to India by the end of the week, said diplomatic sources. Osh was at the epicentre of the rioting that has left more than 100 people dead.
There are 400-500 Indian students in Bishkek too and although there has been no violence there, many of them are likely to take the flights back.
Normal commercial air links between India and Kyrgyzstan remain unaffected by the bloody clashes, said the Kyrgyz embassy. It is expected that any of the handful of Indian businessmen in the country would use those flights to return if they wished to, said sources.
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement earlier in the day that "about 116 Indian nationals are stranded in Southern Kyrgyzstan, due to the ongoing difficult law and order situation.
These include around 15 students in the city of Jalalabad and around 99 students, a professor and a businessman, in the city of Osh."
"Our Mission was in close and regular touch with several of the Indian nationals, as well as with relevant departments of the Kyrgyz government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and security agencies," it said.
"Everything possible is being done to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian nationals within the constraints posed by the difficult ground situation," it added.
The Indian Mission in Bishkek was monitoring the developments closely and additional steps would be taken as soon as the situation becomes more conducive, the ministry said.
(With PTI inputs)