So far around 6, 61,352 persons, have registered their request with the Indian Missions for repatriation to India, this is as on July 8.
Almost 5, 80,000 have returned under the Vande Bharat Mission from the time it had started almost two months ago. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in close coordination with other Indian Missions and local state agencies have been repatriating Indians who have been stuck in countries across the globe due to global pandemic. The official spokesperson of MEA Anurag Srivastava announced that “The Phase IV of the repatriation of the Indian citizens has already started and under this 637 international flights have been scheduled. These flights will service 29 airports in India.”
So far around 6, 61,352 persons, have registered their request with the Indian Missions for repatriation to India, this is as on July 8. Around 97,000 Indians have crossed through the land border immigration checkpoints from countries including Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Repatriation from Latin America and Africa
Indian Missions in LatAm and Africa have been ensuring the quick return of those stuck in various countries in the region. As has been reported by the Financial Express Online earlier, the missions in LatAm Region have been tying up to facilitate the return of the Indians through other flights towards Europe and from there the stranded Indians board India bound flights.
According to Srivastava, “Flights have been planned from Amsterdam to bring passengers from Latin American countries. Also, flights have been planned out of Lagos, Nairobi and South Africa to meet requirements from Africa.”
Since the demand from the GCC countries, Singapore, and Malaysia has gone up, efforts are on to get them back too.
Flights from Australia
Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that under Phase IV around eight flights were expected to bring back Indians stuck in Australia. These are students primarily. “The flights were to start July 1 towards Melbourne. However, due to a rise in COVID positive cases, the government of that country has put a stop to all international flights. There was a plan to send flights to Sydney and other cities, that too has been put on a hold” said the source quoted above.
Indian Navy’s Operation Samudra Setu
This was launched on May 5, and has not come to an end after successfully bringing back 3,992 Indian citizens by sea.
Which Ships participated in this?
Indian Naval Ships Jalashwa (Landing Platform Dock), and Airavat, Shardul and Magar (Landing Ship Tanks) were the three which had participated in this operation which lasted over 55 days. The whole Operation traversed around 23,000 kilometres by sea.
The challenge faced by the Navy during repatriation was to ensure there was no incident of an outbreak of infection on board the ships. “Efforts were made to follow strict safety protocols which were unique. The global pandemic COVID-19 has had an impact on ships and seafarers due to the compact environment and forced ventilation systems onboard ships,” according to the Indian Navy.
The ships had specially equipped Sick Bay or the clinic onboard with COVID-19 related equipment and facilities. And there were women officers and military nursing staff on board for the women passengers.