“Security of Indians our priority”: PM Modi stresses need for stable govt amid global tensions

Prime Minister Modi campaigning in Karnataka April 14. 2024. PHOTO: X @narendramodi

Amid rising tensions in West Asia, which were rendered far worse after Iran launched over 300 projectiles towards Israel in response to the air strike on its embassy in Syria, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Sunday, April 14 (US time), 2024, that amid global hostilities and the specter of war, the priority for the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, if elected for a third term, would be to secure the lives of fellow Indians in conflict zones.

Speaking at the launch of the BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Modi stressed the significance of returning to power with a big majority, saying it would help the government navigate the global challenges and rescue trapped and distressed Indian natives from conflict zones through decisive action.

Addressing a gathering of party leaders, including Union Ministers, at the BJP’s national headquarters in Delhi, after the unveiling of the party’s ‘Sankalp Patra’, PM Modi said parts of the world were seemingly in a conflict situation.

“Clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the world today. Several regions are staring at a war-like situation and the world is tense and not at peace. In such times, ensuring the safety and security of our citizens becomes a priority and a paramount task for any government that comes in. Hence, the safety of our people will be the top priority for our government, if we return for another term,” PM Modi said.

“In times when the fear of war grips the world, it is all the more necessary for a strong and stable government, with a full majority, to be elected. We should have a government that makes the country economically stronger and more resilient in the face of global challenges. It should make swift strides towards taking us to our eventual goal of a ‘Viksit Bharat’ (developed country). The BJP is determined to make this happen, if elected again. Our manifesto comes with the guarantee of such a government,” PM Modi added.

Even in its second term, the BJP-led NDA demonstrated intent and action when it came to airlifting distressed Indians from conflict zones.

As the tensions between Russia and Ukraine devolved into a full-blown military conflict, an evacuation mission by the Indian government was launched to save stranded citizens in Ukraine.

The ‘Operation Ganga’ was announced on February 26, 2022, and was carried out until March 11, 2022. As part of this mission, Air Force planes as well as private flights carried out multiple sorties to bring back trapped natives from the conflict zones in eastern Europe while providing humanitarian relief. The operation resulted in the evacuation of about 25,000 Indian nationals, as well as citizens of 18 other countries.

In a similar rescue plan, the Center launched ‘Operation Ajay’ to bring back stranded Indian citizens from Israel as it went to war with Hamas in response to the horrific terror attacks on October 7, last year.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, till December, last year, 1,309 Indian citizens, 14 Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders, and 20 Nepalese from Israel were rescued under ‘Operation Ajay’.

In another daring operation, an Indian Air Force’s C-130J heavy-lift aircraft rescued 121 people from a small airstrip at Wadi Sayyidna, which is about 40 km north of the violence-hit Sudan capital of Khartoum, in April of last year.

The airstrip had a degraded surface with no navigational aid or fuel, and, most critically, no landing lights, which are required to guide an aircraft landing at night. The pilots used night vision goggles (NVGs) to carry out the landing at night.

The mission to rescue trapped Indians from Khartoum was code-named ‘Operation Kaveri’.

The IAF carried out similar operations to evacuate Indians from Kabul after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also weighed in on the government’s intent to bring distressed Indians in conflict zones to safety, saying, “They (world powers) note how we take care of our citizens abroad. It could be ‘Operation Ganga’ or ‘Kaveri’ or ‘Ajay’. It could be the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission during Covid (pandemic).”

PM Modi also praised India’s efforts to amplify the voice of the Global South.



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