Operation Ajay: Flight carrying 212 Indians from Israel lands in Delhi


A flight carrying the first batch of Indians that were stranded in Israel amid the country’s ongoing war with Hamas, landed in New Delhi on Friday morning IST as part of ‘Operation Ajay’. The Indian nationals (pictured above; photo courtesy IANS) were welcomed by Union information and technology minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. He also interacted with some of the returning students.

The minister said the government’s commitment to the safety of every Indian is unwavering. “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,” Chandrasekhar said.

An Indian national who returned from Israel told ANI, “This is the first time we faced this situation over there. We are hoping for peace as soon as possible so that we can go back to work as earliest as possible…”

The first batch of Indian passengers boarded the flight from Tel Aviv (the Israeli capital) to India under Operation Ajay on Thursday.

Indian Ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla said the Indian Embassy in Israel is working to ensure the well-being of all Indian nationals in the country. He said that under ‘Operation Ajay’, the embassy will help Indians who want to return to India.

“The Embassy of India in Tel Aviv has been working continuously to ensure the safety and welfare of all Indian citizens in Israel. Yesterday, the external affairs minister announced Operation Ajay to help those Indians who wish to return to India. And today, under Operation Ajay, the first flight is going back to India,” he said.

He added, “It’s going to have 200 Indian citizens — students, caregivers, and business professionals, and we are trying to ensure that we have a similar flight in the coming days. We will have, one flight tomorrow… I would like to reach out to my fellow Indian citizens here and urge them to remain calm and stay safe by following the local safety advisories and I want to tell them that we’re always there with them. We are standing with them.”

Earlier on Thursday, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “As announced by EAM yesterday, Operation Ajay has been launched to facilitate the return from Israel of our citizens who wish to come back. The first chartered flight will be reaching Tel Aviv later tonight to pick up the Indian citizens and is likely to return to India tomorrow morning.”

The MEA spokesperson said that there were no Indian casualties so far. “We haven’t heard of any casualty so far,” he said. “There are around 18,000 Indians in Israel. There is conflict going on and it is a matter of concern. Indians advised to follow advisories issued by our mission,” Bagchi said.

The MEA had set up a 24-hour control room in view of the escalating conflict. The control room will help monitor the situation and provide information and assistance.

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