External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said Indian students were positively discouraged by universities in Ukraine from leaving.
In his statement on the situation in the war-torn country, he said that 22,500 Indian citizens have returned safely from Ukraine.
"Despite our efforts, however, a large majority of students elected to continue staying in Ukraine. We must understand the predicament in this regard. There was natural reluctance to leave the educational institutions and affect the studies. Some universities actively discourage and showed reluctance to offer online courses. Many of them received conflicting advice regarding safety," Mr Jaishankar said.
He said that in the period leading to February 24, the political signals were confusing as well.
"Public urgings not to be taken by alarmism and reports of force withdrawal created a confusing picture. The net result was that about 18,000 Indian nationals were caught in the midst of conflict when it started," Mr Jaishankar said. The minister said that students did what they thought is right under the circumstance.
He said that India prepared in advance of the actual conflict situation.
He said the Indian embassy in Ukraine had started registration drive for India nationals in January and as a result 20,000 Indian nationals registered with Indian embassy.
The minister said that 4,000 students left Ukraine through direct and indirect flights.
He said that India also rescued 147 foreign nationals of 18 countries including Nepal and Bangladesh from Ukraine.
The minister said that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has major economic implications and same can be seen in the rising prices of energy and commodities.
"The Ukraine conflict has major economic implications. Its impact on energy and commodity prices is already visible. The disruption of global supply chain is expected to be significant. India has substantial dealing with both Russia and Ukraine," Mr Jaishankar said.
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