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Diplomats shown in poor light in 'Airlift': Sources

The then External Affairs Minister, I.K. Gujral, along with some Indians who were evacuated from Kuwait, arriving in New Delhi by a special IAF aircraft. Photo: The Hindu Archives  

Visibly upset with the absence of credit to Indian diplomats in Airlift, a film on evacuation of Indians in Kuwait after Iraq’s invasion in 1990, Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Friday: “The film has taken artistic liberty. The MEA in fact played an active role in the evacuation. Hope people will read facts.”

Diplomatic sources told The Hindu that the portrayal of diplomats and MEA officials in the film was far from truth and appeared to have been crafted for entertainment.

One of the key officials who directed the large-scale evacuation of Indians trapped in Kuwait and Iraq was K.P. Fabian who described the film as a venture to spread misinformation. “Air India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Mr. I.K. Gujral [the then External Affairs Minister], and the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs worked in coordination and carried out an extraordinary operation to bring back the Indians trapped as the first Gulf War broke out,” Mr. Fabian told The Hindu.

“The problem is that the film has portrayed an event which took place in the not-so-distant past and a lot of officials from the MEA worked in multiple fronts to facilitate the evacuation through Jordan and Turkey,” said an official.

The operation to evacuate Indians from Kuwait following invasion by Saddam Hussein-led Iraq went on to become the biggest crisis-time evacuation in history.

Diplomats tell The Hindu that the crisis also helped the Indian government build stronger ties with the governments of the region, like Jordan, which later on helped India deal with similar crises involving citizens working in the Gulf.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 9:03:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Diplomats-shown-in-poor-light-in-Airlift-Sources/article14027212.ece

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