NEW DELHI: Tarun Pithode, a Madhya Pradesh (MP) cadre 2009-batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer in his new book ‘Operation Ganga: Diary of a Public Servant’ has lucidly narrated India’s efforts to bring back thousands of students stranded in Russia-Ukraine war.
The book, published in the Hindi language by Bloomsbury, is likely to hit stores including e-tailer Amazon on February 18.
Pithode, who is currently working as a managing director of the food and civil supplies department in Madhya Pradesh government, describes how the Centre closely coordinated with organisations, institutions, and religious and social groups in Ukraine, to ensure the safe passage of Indian students.
The mission to evacuate Indian students started on February 26, 2022, and ended on March 11, 2022, following a phone call between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The civil servant with an engineering background rakes up the country’s two-week-long episode coinciding with an anniversary this month and suggested that while studying abroad, students should adopt best practices in such precarious situations.
The book also brings an account of the sufferings of students and their harrowing journeys, and the role of the Indian government.
In one of the instances, Pithode narrated how a young medicine student Farish and his friends in Sumi were helped by the Indian embassy to move through the Ukraine border into neighbouring Poland.
The Indian government activated embassies in countries such as Romania, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and Slovakia to all out assist the trapped Indian students in Ukraine.
India had close to 16,000 people out of which nearly 15,000 were students enrolled in various courses including medical studies in the country. Through its Embassy in Kyiv, India issued advisories, and hundreds of students left Ukraine before the closure of airspace over the affected areas.
In the final leg of the operation, Indian PM Modi dispatched special envoys to assist in coordination efforts.
On 10 March, the remaining 600 stranded Indian nationals from Ukraine’s Sumi were brought to Rzeszow Airport in Poland in 13 buses, and on the following day, brought back to India in three airplanes, concluding the prestigious operation.