As India is evacuating its nationals from war-torn Ukraine amid opposition criticism, an old video of late Sushma Swaraj, when she was the external affairs minister, is doing the rounds on social media, after BJP’s Amit Malviya tweeted it on Thursday. After a Karnataka student died in Ukraine coming under Russian shelling, the opposition stepped up its attack on the government saying that the government was late in starting the evacuation process.
Amid the ongoing exchange of barbs, this old video of Sushma Swaraj where she can be seen talking about Operation Rahat which was launched by India to evacuate Indian nationals from Yemen in 2015, is going viral.
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“People raise questions over PM Modi’s frequent foreign visits. Some people say he stays in the aeroplane. What is the use of such visits? I want to address this question. These visits are not fun but to establish personal ties and I have been reaping the benefits of these strong ties,” Sushma had said.
“When Yemen war broke out, all evacuation routes – land, air, water– was blocked. I remembered PM Modi had met the Saudi King in Brisbane and I asked PM Modi to make a personal call to him asking for a halt in bombing for a week; we can evacuate our nationals. PM Modi called the Saudi king; he sought an hour. Then Saudi king said he can’t do this for a week, but the operation can be halted for two hours every day in a week. I said that’s enough,” the former foreign minister can be seen saying in the now-viral video.
“It was such an operation that the US, the UK told us that they were not being able to evacuate their nationals. Only India could do. This is the strength of the relationship,” Sushma Swaraj said.
The Sushma Swaraj video is from 2018, when the minister was addressing the Indian diaspora at the ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Singapore.
“If Modi administration could negotiate a 2 hour ceasefire each day in Yemen to evacuate 5,000 Indians and 2,000 foreign nationals, under operation Raahat, why is to so difficult to believe that Russia indicated a safe window, in which India could move its people out of Kharkiv?” Amit Malviya tweeted.