In a remarkable operation, the first charter flight aimed at bringing back Indian citizens who were stranded in Israel during the ongoing conflict arrived in New Delhi on Friday morning. This significant effort, dubbed ‘Operation Ajay,’ was launched by the Indian government to ensure the safe return of its citizens affected by the Israel-Hamas war.
The flight, carrying 212 Indian passengers, including an infant, took off from Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on Thursday night. These passengers were chosen on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, indicating the urgency and need for their evacuation. At the New Delhi airport, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar was present to welcome the returning Indian nationals, showcasing the government’s commitment to their welfare.
Indian citizens in Israel, including students, professionals, and traders, faced a challenging situation due to the ongoing war. With Air India and other airlines suspending commercial operations to and from Israel when the conflict began on October 7, ‘Operation Ajay’ became a crucial lifeline for those stranded abroad.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar announced the launch of ‘Operation Ajay’ on Wednesday, emphasizing the government’s dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens abroad. Special chartered flights are a vital part of this operation, and the Indian Navy ships are on standby if the need arises.
Simultaneously, to monitor the situation in Israel and Palestine, the Ministry of External Affairs established a 24-hour control room in the national capital. They have provided several contact numbers and an email address for Indian citizens to seek assistance during this challenging time.
Amid this dire situation, the war between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, entering its seventh day. The conflict has already claimed the lives of over 2,800 people on both sides and displaced 423,000 individuals from their homes.
The root cause of this conflict traces back to a surprise attack by Hamas militants on Israel, citing a long-running dispute over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a site of significance for both Muslims and Jews. In response, the Israeli military has launched near-constant airstrikes.
As the situation intensifies, Israel has revealed its preparations for a possible ground operation in Gaza, although a final decision from the political leadership is still pending. The ongoing conflict underscores the importance of ‘Operation Ajay’ and similar humanitarian efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of Indian citizens abroad during challenging times.
The ministry of external affairs has set up a 24-hour control room in the national capital to monitor the situation in Israel and Palestine. The phone numbers for the control room are: 1800118797 (toll free), +91-11 23012113, +91-11-23014104, +91-11-23017905 and +919968291988, while the email ID is email@example.com.
The Indian embassy’s 24-hour emergency helpline can also be accessed on the numbers +972-35226748 and +972-543278392, and the email ID firstname.lastname@example.org.