New Delhi: Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi, announced on Sunday that the Indian government is actively working to bring back Indian students currently stuck in Israel following an attack by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.
Minister Lekhi revealed that she received numerous distress messages overnight regarding Indian citizens in Israel. She emphasized that the Prime Minister's office is directly overseeing the situation, stating, "The Indian government is dedicated to repatriating our stranded students from Israel. The Prime Minister and his office are closely monitoring the situation, and extensive efforts are underway to bring back our students who find themselves in this situation."
She further highlighted the government's successful track record of evacuating its nationals during crisis situations, citing examples like Operation Ganga and Vande Bharat. "Whether it was Operation Ganga or Vande Bharat, we have successfully brought back everyone, and I am confident that the government, as well as the Prime Minister's Office, are in direct communication with these individuals, actively working to monitor and address the situation," she affirmed.
Minister Lekhi's statements followed reports in the media where several Indian students in Israel expressed fear and concern in the aftermath of the attack. Additionally, 27 individuals from Meghalaya, who had traveled to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage, are currently stranded in Bethlehem.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma shared this information on X, saying, "Twenty-seven citizens of Meghalaya who traveled for a Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem are stuck in Bethlehem due to the tension between Israel and Palestine. I am in contact with the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure their safe return home."
Earlier today, Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan, urged Indian citizens stranded in Israel to prioritize their safety and reach out to the Indian embassy if they require assistance.
According to the Indian Embassy's website, there are approximately 18,000 Indian citizens in Israel, including caregivers for Israeli elders, diamond traders, IT professionals, and students. In May 2021, Soumya Santhosh, a 32-year-old caregiver from Kerala working in Israel, tragically lost her life during a Gaza shelling incident while she was on a video call with her husband."