Stage set for the biggest ever evacuation of Indians from across the globe; Navy ships head towards UAE and Maldives

By: |
May 5, 2020 12:42 PM

The government order issued on Monday has asked all state governments to make arrangements for testing, keeping in quarantine and for the onward movement of these people.

Meantime, four Naval ships which are at sea already are heading full speed towards UAE and Maldives.Meantime, four Naval ships which are at sea already are heading full speed towards UAE and Maldives.

Indian Navy ships and transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force are set to take off to bring back the stranded Indians from across the globe.Sources have confirmed to the Financial Express Online “There are 30 transport aircraft ready to go on the mission. Also, the Indian Navy ships which are already at sea are awaiting orders to sail to the direction from the first phase of evacuation on such a large scale will start.

“Typically from the time the orders are issued, the ship takes 2-3 days to reach the location. This evacuation is being carried out under the directions of the Ministry of External Affairs,” the source added.

Meantime, four Naval ships which are at sea already are heading full speed towards UAE and Maldives. “INS Jalashwa, Indian Navy’s largest amphibious platform (Landing Platform Dock), is heading towards UAE and has the capacity to have 800 passengers on board after following strict COVID-19 Social distancing procedures. This has been modified for passengers including women and children. Also, 3 Landing Ship Tanks (LST) have been alerted to move towards UAE and the Maldives.”

A senior naval officer who wished to remain anonymous, said “ The ships which are already at sea are moving to pick the stranded passengers and depending on the sea state (the winds, the choppiness and other weather conditions) the return journey could be three days. Though the passengers who will be onboard are expected to be asymptomatic, one has to be very careful.”

Where will these ships dock on return?

“The four ships on return will dock at the standalone passenger Terminal created at Kochi, Kerala. That location has been identified as it has bus facilities too for onward journey. On return as per the government order, all passengers have to be quarantined.”

The government order issued on Monday has asked all state governments to make arrangements for testing, keeping in quarantine and for the onward movement of these people.

Almost 3-4 lakh Indians are expected to be evacuated from the world over. In the first phase, the ships are heading towards UAE and Maldives. IAF aircraft is expected to pick passengers from Bangladesh.

From UAE, the first round will be on board the national carrier Air India, as well as INS Jalshwa. Sources have said that there will be two flights of Air India – towards Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

According to Indian ambassador to UAE, Pavan Kapoor, “ The process of repatriation is starting for those people who need to return on an urgent basis. And the Indian mission is working closely with the authorities to enable smooth exit of the people.”

From Male, Maldives around 700 Indians are being evacuated and they will come on the Naval ships. All these passengers will reach Kochi on May 7 and will be straight away quarantined.

The second phase of the evacuation will bring back stranded citizens from Iran, the US, the UK and Malaysia as well as other countries in the neighbourhood. And the combination will of flights of Air India, IAF as well as ships.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, “All the missions have been preparing lists of the Indians who need to be evacuated. And all necessary arrangements are being made by the Indian Missions and posts to help in the smooth repatriation. And working closely with the local authorities to help in the documentations.”

So far the number of Indians who have registered to be evacuated from various countries include: 11,000 have registered with Indian mission in Moscow; around 1200 in New Zealand; 390 in Nairobi. And more than 2 lakh in the Gulf region.

These people will be evacuated on payment basis whether they come on Air India, IAF or Navy ships. And there has to be a compelling reason for returning, and strict COVID-19 protocols will be followed.

So far, India has evacuated almost 2500 Indians and 48 foreign nationals from various countries including China, Japan, Italy and Iran.

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