Press Trust of india

BJP credits PM with Ukraine rescue efforts; slams opposition

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New Delhi:  India made every possible effort by roping in NGOs, industry contacts in Ukraine and surrounding countries to rescue more than 20,000 students stranded in the war-hit country within three weeks, senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal said here on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Goyal also slammed the Congress and other opposition parties for allegedly politicising the rescue operations and criticising Russia at a time when India was reaching out to every country in the neighbourhood to move Indian students to safety.

He said the last batch of students from Sumy were on their way to Lyiv in western Ukraine from where they would be taken to neighbouring countries.

Special flights will bring them home from there, he said.

Goyal, also a Union minister, said there was no parallel to the rescue operations mounted by India in Ukraine and big countries such as China and the US had not succeeded in evacuating their nationals from the war-zone.

“Students from Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh were also evacuated by us. The importance of the Indian tricolour was on display in the war-zone and students even from other countries waved the Indian flag to move to safety,” Goyal said.

He said the government had issued advisories starting from February 15, but some students did not take them seriously as they were misled by their universities who had failed to gauge the seriousness of the crisis.

Goyal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi made every possible effort by speaking to world leaders on 11 occasions, chairing eight high-level meetings, and even speaking to heads of NGOs of religious sects, contacts in the industry to seek their help in the evacuation efforts.

He said district collectors and other officials across the country reached out to the parents of students stranded in Ukraine and updated them of the rescue efforts.

Goyal slammed Congress leaders, accusing them of spreading misinformation about the rescue efforts and creating confusion in the country.

“Everyone gets united in the time of crises, but instead of consoling people during, opposition leaders were busy in furthering false propaganda. A chief minister of a southern state even wanted students from his state to be rescued on priority,” Goyal said, without naming the chief minister.

He said former Congress president Rahul Gandhi even shared news reports quoting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, while the Tamil Nadu government wanted to send a delegation of MPs to the conflict zone.

Goyal also slammed the opposition for claiming that the government had sent four ministers to European nations for publicity.

Goyal said the ministers were deployed as special envoys of India and helped clear the bottlenecks in the rescue efforts.


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