Needless to mention, everyone across the globe has been left heartbroken by the war between Russia and Ukraine. Amidst the terrible scenes in the war-torn nation, the Indian Government is currently carrying out an evacuation operation to bring the stranded Indian citizens back.
However, this is not the first time the nation has launched an evacuation program. From wars to earthquakes, India has a long history of several successful evacuations. Here are some of the biggest evacuation programs launched by the Indian Government.
1. Kuwait Airlift (1990)
So far, this has been the world’s biggest evacuation exercise of civilians by air. About 1,70,000 nationalists were caught in the war, which left thousands of people homeless and several others dead. On August 13, twelve days after the invasion happened, the country began its evacuation process post diplomatic negotiations and an Air India flight brought the first batch of stranded civilians home. The airline operated around 500 flights over the period of two months and even registered itself in the Guinness World Records for executing the largest-ever air evacuation mission. More than 25 years later, this event inspired the 2016 movie Airlift starring Akshay Kumar.
2. Operation Sukoon AKA Beirut Sealift (2006)
When a military conflict broke between Israel and Lebanon, the Indian Government decided to rescue its stranded citizens by launching this operation. Touted as one of the largest naval rescue missions, the task force evacuated about 2,280 people including 1,764 Indians, 112 Sri Lankans, 64 Nepalese and 7 Lebanese nationals with Indian spouses.
3. Operation Safe Homecoming (2011)
In this operation, the Indian Government evacuated its stranded citizens, fleeing from the Libyan Civil War. The air-sea operation, which ended after 15,400 Indian nationals were brought home safely, was conducted by the Indian Navy and Air India.
4. Operation Raahat (2015)
When conflict raged between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, thousands of Indians were stranded in the war-torn country. Due to a no-fly zone announced by Saudi Arabia, the Indian Armed Forces couldn’t reach Yemen via air. However, the Indian Government decided to carry out an initial evacuation by sea from the port of Aden. Later, the air evacuation was done by the Indian Air Force and Air India. As the country was torn in conflict, India rescued about 4,640 stranded countrymen, along with 960 foreign nationals from more than 41 countries.
5. Operation Maitri (2015)
This operation, which was the joint relief and rescue operation by the Indian Government and the Indian Armed Forces, was an operation in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake. India, which was the first country to launch a full-fledged rescue and relief operation, was extremely quick to respond and the operation started within 15 minutes of the earthquake. The forces not only evacuated around 5,188 people by civilian planes but also evacuated 170 foreign nationals and even provided transit visas to 785 foreign tourists.
6. Evacuation From Brussels (2016)
In the three coordinated suicide bombings in Belgium, 32 civilians along with three terrorists were killed. In such a grim situation, Jet Airways took the responsibility of evacuating several people from the war-struck country. The airline first took about 800 people on four different flights, by road to Amsterdam. There were two jet flights, which left for Amsterdam from India. While the first one brought back 242 passengers to India, the other took off to Newark.
7. Operation Samudra Setu (2020)
When the entire nation was shaken by the heart-wrenching and sordid situation during the global pandemic, this naval operation was launched in order to bring the Indian citizens from overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic back home. Thanks to the operation, 3,992 citizens returned back to their homeland via sea. Indian Naval ships, which traversed more than 23,000 km, were Jalashwa (Landing Platform Dock), Airavat, Shardul and Magar (Landing Ship Tanks).
8. Vande Bharat Mission (2021)
In 2021, the centre launched another mission in order to bring back Indian citizens stranded in the Covid-struck foreign lands. In the numerous phases of the operation, around 60 lakh people were brought back. About 18,79,968 people flew back in Air India and Air India Express flights and another 36,92,216 took chartered flights. Apart from this, 3,987 people returned back through naval ships and 5,02,151 were repatriated via land border crossings.
9. Operation Devi Shakti (2021)
In 2021, the entire world was shaken as thousands of helpless people swarmed Kabul airport to grasp one last chance to escape the war-torn country. Under this operation, the Indian Armed Forces evacuated a total of 669 people, including 448 Indians, from Afghanistan.
10. Operation Ganga (2022)
The horrifying scenes of Russia invading Ukraine have left the entire world in a grim situation. Amid such a heart-wrenching situation, the Indian Government has deployed over 80 flights under this operation in order to evacuate stranded Indians from war-torn Ukraine. These flights, which will approximately rescue 17,000 stranded Indians, are scheduled to take off from Budapest, Bucharest, Rzeszow, Suceava and Kosice.