‘Our mission not complete till evacuation of last Indian citizen from Ukraine’
New Delhi: “Whenever in life you feel things are becoming difficult, things are not moving, remember this day, February 26, and everything will be fine.”
This is what Indian Ambassador to Romania, Rahul Shrivastava, told the Indian students on board the first evacuation flight from Bucharest just before it took off to Mumbai on Saturday.
The Indians reached Romania from Ukraine via the Suceava border crossing as part of a coordinated evacuation mission by the Ministry of External Affairs and Indian embassies in Ukraine and Romania.
In his two-minute address, Shrivastava urged the students to convey to their stranded friends whenever they talk to them that the entire Indian government team is working “day and night” to evacuate everyone from Ukraine.
The envoy, a 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) official, said India’s mission is not complete till it evacuates the last Indian citizen from Ukraine.
“You are in the last leg of your journey back home where your relatives, friends and families would be waiting with open arms to welcome you. While you reach there, they will embrace, you embrace them, hug them,” he said.
“But while you do that, when you are back in our motherland, you should also remember that your friends are still there (Ukraine). When you talk to your friends who are waiting to be evacuated, you should tell and assure them that the entire government of India team is working day and night including all officials here to evacuate everyone,” the envoy said.
He further added: “Our mission is not complete till we have taken the last person to India out of Ukraine. Wishing you a very safe journey back home.”
In his address through the aircraft’s passenger address (PA) system, Shrivastava also thanked Air India and the flight’s crew members and wished all of them a very safe journey.
All the students gave a big round of applause to the envoy’s brief remarks.
Shrivastava said he just wanted to say “hello” to everyone before they leave.
“Good morning my dear friends. My name is Rahul Shrivastava and I am your ambassador in Romania,” he introduced himself.
“I know that you have come through a long and arduous road journey and the last thing in your mind is an announcement by the ambassador. Before you leave, I thought I would just say hello to you.”
India on Friday managed to set up camp offices in Lviv and Chernivtsi towns in western Ukraine to facilitate the transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland.
India also positioned teams of officials at Zahony border post in Hungary, Krakowiec as well as Shehyni-Medyka land border points in Poland, Vysne Nemecke in the Slovak Republic and Suceava transit point in Romania to coordinate the exit of Indian nationals from Ukraine.
India is trying to evacuate its nationals through Ukraine’s land borders with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Ukrainian government closed the country’s airspace following the Russian military offensive.