Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina thanked India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extending a helping hand to Bangladesh in evacuating its students stranded in Ukraine. “I write to express my sincere thanks to you and your government for extending support and assistance in rescuing and evacuating some Bangladeshi nationals along with the Indians who were stranded in Sumy Oblast, Ukraine,” Hasina wrote in her letter.
The Bangladesh prime minister was referring to the evacuation effort undertaken by Indian officials to bring students out of wartorn Sumy which continues to bear the brunt of Russian president Vladimir Putin ‘military operation’ in Ukraine. In the last leg of the evacuation, Indian officials ensured more than 700 students were flown back home from the city which once housed several universities and colleges with a large number of foreign students.
Earlier in February, news agency ANI reported that students from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Turkey were granted safe passage as they were travelling with Indian students carrying the Indian flag.
“The wholehearted cooperation that your government has been extending in this regard is a testament to the unique and enduring relationship that our two countries have been enjoying over the years. I am confident that both Bangladesh and India would continue to always stand by each other and work together to realise the collective aspirations of the people of the two countries. I wish you good health and a very happy Holi ahead,” Hasina wrote.
Operation Ganga, the mission to bring back stranded Indian students from Ukraine home, has so far brought back more than 22,000 stranded Indians as well as citizens of other nationalities from India’s neighbourhood back home.
Students were evacuated via land borders from Poland, Romania, Hungary as well as from the Russian side through the city of Belgorod. Four union ministers were also deployed in Hungary, Poland and Romania to help with evacuation efforts.
PM Modi also held discussions with Russia and Ukraine heads of state to ensure safe return of the children and other citizens. He also advised Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to hold direct talks and cease hostilities leading to deaths of civilians as well as army men.