Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Indian nationals evacuated from war-torn Ukraine. (PTI)
Russia-Ukraine war: Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday interacted with students who returned from Ukraine and blamed previous governments for a large number of Indian students going abroad to pursue medical education. The Prime Minister asserted that India is now working to augment the number of medical colleges so that students can enroll themselves within the country.When they are no longer agitated and begin to understand the magnitude of the exercise, they will show their affection as well, the prime minister said, as many students expressed their thanks to him and lauded his government for rescuing them when they had lost all hope.
«If medical education policies were right earlier, then you would not have to go abroad,» he said, adding that no parents want their children to go overseas at such a young age. His government is working to correct the past mistakes, he added.
While interacting with students from different parts of Uttar Pradesh who have returned from the war-hit Ukraine, Modi also empathised with those students and their families who have expressed their anger, even at him, after facing hardships in Ukraine. «I think it is natural for them to feel angry in this crisis,» he said, adding that they have been facing hardships and braving cold.
A strong India is the answer to these troubles, Modi said, expressing his sympathies with the students who, he added, had to go through such an experience at a young age.
The government has launched «Operation Ganga» to evacuate Indian citizens, mostly students, from Ukraine which has been attacked by Russia.
There were 300 to 400 medical colleges earlier, and they now number nearly 700, Modi said. The number of seats they offer has now gone up to 1.5 lakh from earlier 80,000-90,000, he said.
«My effort is that every district has one medical college. Probably, there will be more doctors produced in 10 years than the last 70 years,» he said. This will be a big thing as young students would not have to travel abroad, and their families would not have to under such stress, he added.
«You had to undergo such an experience in life at such a young age in a distant place alone. I can imagine the mental state you would have been through. Now we are able to evacuate people properly,» he said.
«After the attack began, it seemed I will not be able to return and saw death from close quarters. I am proud of being an Indian and you as prime minister,» a student said, adding that the display of Indian flag on their windows and buses ensured that Russian forces let them go without causing any problem. Even students of some other countries also used Indian flag to get smooth passage from the Russian army, one said.
The students shared their experiences with Modi, who is on a tour of the state as part of the BJP’s campaign for the ongoing assembly polls. Modi represents Varanasi constituency in Lok Sabha.