It is a relief that 46 nurses who were a part of 183 evacuees on the special Air India flight and who were all stranded in war-torn Iraq have returned home safely (“Emotional reunions as nurses return,” July 6). Their rescue was a challenge for the new National Democratic Alliance government. Everyone was doubtful about the success of the government’s efforts, but the Ministry of External Affairs and Union Minister Sushma Swaraj made sincere efforts to bring them back, which paid rich dividends. Fortunately, help and cooperation came from every side. The fact that India pulled it off amid nail-biting moments is wonderful (“High drama and glitches till last minute,” July 6).
It was heartwarming to read that the nurses and other Indian workers virtually held hostage by rebels in Iraq were safely evacuated. The Ministry of External Affairs left no stone unturned. However, there are thousands of Indians who are still stranded in Iraq and in a hapless situation. I hope the Ministry pursues the issue with the same vigour with which it dealt with this crisis, and brings back all Indians from the war-torn country.
G. Sneha Reddy,
The release of Indians from ISIS captivity comes as a significant moment of triumph for the Narendra Modi administration. The meticulousness with which the new government has handled its first major overseas diplomatic crisis deserves praise. But there are still hundreds of Indians whose lives are at stake in Iraq.
Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
In democracies, governments are pilloried when things go wrong. When the government successfully pulls off a difficult task, like rescuing citizens stranded citizens in war zones or held captive by rebels, it is grudgingly said that it was after all doing what was expected of it. The safe return of Indian nurses stranded in Iraq was possible only because of the vigorous diplomatic initiatives of the State and Central governments. The episode offers a clear lesson for the government — always keep channels of communication open even with nations and groups perceived to be implacably adversarial. For the Kerala nurses, mercifully, the ISIS fighters did not behave like the Boko Haram.
The tearful story of the nurses, who have reached their motherland safely, reveal how hard it is to make both ends meet. There is no doubt that this reunion of the nurses with their family is a happy occasion for them, but it carries with it a bitter lesson also for people who are carried away by foreign jobs and foreign salaries. It is true that the world has become smaller with globalisation, and it is quite common for men and women to seek employment abroad to earn more for a comfortable life. They are cheerful until this boat of life is rocked by storms of trials and tribulations. The Iraq-returned nurses have also realised that man does not live by bread alone; freedom and peace of mind is more valuable than wealth.
What a classic example of cooperative federalism! Such affirmative action instils in citizens the feeling that that they can count on the government in times of distress.
The joint efforts of the State and Central governments, irrespective of their political differences, in rescuing the nurses and other Indians is something that must be appreciated. If this unified effort continues between all States and the Central government in all matters of national interest, imagine how our India could be.
At last, the total confusion and chaos that had revolved around the safe exit of 46 Indian nurses (45 from Kerala and one from Tamil Nadu) ended on a positive note. The entire country heaved a sigh of relief on the safe return of more than 170 people unharmed. In this respect, it was heartening to listen to members of the Kerala government setting aside political differences and praising the role played by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. It is praiseworthy that the governments concerned worked in tandem on every move they planned. The only discordant note came when some breathless Malayalam television channels were discussing the delay on the part of the Modi government in securing the release.
Contrary to the stereotyped image, it was interesting to read of how the rebels treated the nurses well. The statements by some of the nurses that the rebels never crossed the line, or looked at them straight in the eye, and even allowed them to speak to family members back in India shows that there was hope for them. Is this the ripe time for India to step in and take a lead role in bringing peace to Iraq?