Videos of Smriti Irani and other ministers hosting Indian evacuees from Ukraine
As Indian nationals from war-torn Ukraine return home on special flights organized under Operation Ganga – India’s evacuation mission for its nationals stranded amid a war that rages – several Union Ministers were seen today greeting them as they landed and shouting slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Long live Mother India)” and “Vande Mataram (Praise be to the Motherland).” The grand welcome comes at a time when the Indian government is facing heavy criticism from opposition parties and many citizens following the killing of an Indian student by bombings Russians in Kharkiv yesterday Videos of stranded Indian students criticizing Indians Embassy officials for failing to respond and relatives and friends desperately pleading for help have flooded social media as Russia steps up its attack on the former soviet republic.
In a video tweeted by ANI news agency, Minister Smriti Irani can be seen welcoming students aboard an IndiGo Airlines plane. Speaking over the public address system, she says the Indian evacuees showed “exemplary courage” in “the most difficult times”.
“I am grateful to you for your resilience, for your courage and your patience,” she says and animates the slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki JaiShe also thanks the airline crew for their service.
Another video from the news agency shows Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh can be seen interacting with students who are holding a large Indian flag. He reassures the students that there is no need to worry and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing everything to bring back other students as well. He then greets them with roses and encourages them to sing.”Bharat Mata ki Jai“.
#LOOK “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” chants by Indians returning from war-torn Ukraine, at Delhi airport.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh received the Indians who returned on a special flight today. pic.twitter.com/GfFPmDC6Kt
— ANI (@ANI) March 2, 2022
On microblogging site Koo, Minister General VK Singh posted a similar video of him addressing students inside an airplane where students are chanting “Vande MataramGen. Singh is one of four Union ministers assigned by the government to travel to countries neighboring Ukraine to personally oversee the evacuation of stranded Indians.
Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, another of four ministers who traveled to countries bordering Ukraine to oversee evacuations, posted a video on his Twitter account where he can be seen interacting with students. “Thank God you are all well,” he told a smiling crowd. He claimed that “no other country in the world is doing this”, presumably referring to India’s evacuation efforts. “No matter where anyone is, the Prime Minister is committed to taking each of you,” he said, adding that External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is personally monitoring evacuation efforts.
Delighted to interact with this fearless group of youngsters from all parts of India who have held their nerve even in the toughest of circumstances and will soon be catching the flight home. I am happy for them and their parents. #Operation Ganga#indianstudents@opganga@MEAIndiapic.twitter.com/lEdx8T9zUs
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 1, 2022
Not just ministers, even pilots and cabin crew involved in the evacuations praised their passengers for their strength and resilience. In an ANI video, a SpiceJet airline pilot who flies Indians from Budapest can be seen praising them for their “courage and determination”.
“It’s time to go back to our homeland. It’s time to go home,” he says and ends with “Jai Hind (Long Live India)”, to which the passengers respond with “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram“.
— ANI (@ANI) March 2, 2022
Regarding the developments regarding Operation Ganga, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said six flights have now departed for India in the past 24 hours, including the first flights from Poland. “Brought 1377 other Indian nationals back from Ukraine,” he said on Twitter.
An Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster heavy transport aircraft carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine also left for Romania this morning.