Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday said that despite Kabul closing down its airspace, India is flying back citizens to safety using IAF’s C130 Hercules Globemaster aircraft.
"Even after Kabul airspace closed, IAF's C130 Hercules Globemaster aircraft flew to Afghanistan to bring back our citizens to the country. These flights are operating to bring back our people safely," Jyotiraditya Scindia was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Earlier on Wednesday, Jyotiraditya Scindia had said the central government will make all efforts, like it did in the 'Vande Bharat Mission', to bring back Indian citizens from Afghanistan, which has witnessed re-emergence of the militant group Taliban.
The Vande Bharat Mission was carried out last year to bring back Indians stranded in foreign countries after the suspension of regular international flights following the oubreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Indian government will bring its citizens back to their homes from Afghanistan, like we did in the Vande Bharat Mission, through Air India and the Indian Air Force (IAF) planes, whichever way is possible," Scindia told reporters late Tuesday night in Madhya Pradesh's Shajapur, where he reached as part of his 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra'.
Scindia said the Union government had started the evacuation from Afghanistan last Friday.
"The evacuation process continued for three days. But, when a flight was about to take off on Sunday, NOTAM (a notice to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route) was received following gunshots fired at the Kabul airport," he said.
On Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is working with international partners, principally the US, in bringing stranded Indian nationals back home from Afghanistan.
Jaishankar said this while addressing reporters at the UN Security Council stake-out after chairing the Security Council briefing on the 'Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts', held under India's current Presidency of the Council.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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