Kuwait airlift to ‘Operation Ganga’: Largest evacuation ops carried out by India

Updated on Mar 08, 2022 09:06 AM IST

From ‘Operation Sukoon’ to ‘Operation Safe Homecoming’ and ‘Operation Rahat’, India has successfully evacuated its citizens in war zones over the past three decades

An Indian student embraces his family member upon arrival from war-torn Ukraine after being evacuated under 'Operation Ganga' in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)
An Indian student embraces his family member upon arrival from war-torn Ukraine after being evacuated under 'Operation Ganga' in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

NEW DELHI: More than 18,000 Indians have been safely evacuated back to their home country from war-torn Ukraine via special flights over the last one week as the Russian invasion of the country rages on. Under the central government’s ‘Operation Ganga’, 76 flights were sent to Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova to rescue Indian citizens stuck in Ukraine.

Let’s take a look at some of the other major rescue operations that India undertook in the recent past:

In 1990, the VP Singh government carried out the biggest evacuation of Indians during the Gulf War, with Air India and the Indian Air Force jointly evacuating more than 1.7 lakh stranded citizens. As per previous reports by HT, there were reservations about the evacuation exercise given the costs, said a correspondent who had spoken at length to KP Unnikrishnan, the then telecom minter in VP Singh’s cabinet.

When the war between Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group, broke out in 2006, ‘Operation Sukoon’ was chartered to evacuate Indians, Sri Lankans and Nepalese nationals, as well as Lebanese nationals with Indian spouses. According to media reports, this was one of the largest evacuations conducted by the Indian Navy, wherein 2,280 people, including 1,764 Indians, 112 Sri Lankans, 64 Nepalese and 7 Lebanese nationals with Indian spouses, were rescued from the war zone.

‘Operation Safe Homecoming’ was launched in 2011 to evacuate Indians from Libya when a civil war broke out to oust the country’s then dictator Muammar Gaddafi. More than 15,400 Indian nationals were brought back safely in special flights from Libya’s Tripoli and Sabha, and Egypt’s Alexandria and Malta. Evacuations also took place through the sea with the help of the Indian Navy.

‘Operation Rahat’ was launched in 2015 to evacuate nearly 4,000 Indians, along with foreign nationals from 26 countries, from war-ravaged Yemen through special flights and Indian Navy vessels. India’s evacuation of its citizens was so successful that the US Embassy advised American nationals to also seek assistance from Indian officials to leave Yemen’s capital Sanaa.

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