The first Air India flight with 212 Indian passengers landed at New Delhi from war torn Israel. Indians were rescued under Operation Ajay, which was launched on Wednesday to facilitate the return of Indians who wish to return home as a series of brazen attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas militants over the weekend triggered fresh tensions in the region.
The passengers were chosen on a “first come first serve” basis after a drive launched by the Indian embassy for all Indians to register at the mission's database. The government is bearing the cost of their return.
Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar welcomed the passengers at New Delhi airport. As per Indian Standard Time, the flight took off from Israel's Ben Gurion airport at 12.44 am.
“Our government will never leave any Indian behind. Our government, our Prime Minister is determined to protect them and bring them back home safely. We are grateful to EAM Dr S Jaishankar, the team at the External Affairs Ministry, the flight crew of this Air India flight for making this possible, for bringing our children back home safely and soundly and back home to their loved ones,” said Chandrasekhar.
There are around 18,000 Indians are currently residing in Israel while about a dozen odd people are in the West Bank and three-to four are in Gaza.
The government, had last year, launched Operation Ganga to rescue Indians living in Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine war. More than 16,000 Indian were safely evacuated from the war zone through 76 flights.
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