Vande Bharat Mission: Stranded Indians start returning from South America and Africa, Indian Navy reaches Madagascar with supplies

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Published: May 29, 2020 12:58 PM

Around 300 Indians returned from far away countries in South America including Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Portugal.

 In the second phase of repatriation of Indians from overseas, until Thursday (May 28) 45,216 Indians have returned. (Photo: Indian Navy)
In the second phase of repatriation of Indians from overseas, until Thursday (May 28) 45,216 Indians have returned. (Photo: Indian Navy)

Stranded Indians in far away countries in South America have started coming reaching back to India on outward flights from there. By mid-June in Phase II, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in close coordination with the Indian Missions & posts and other ministries and stakeholders is expected to bring back around 100,000 passengers, from 60 countries. According to the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Anurag Srivastava “The process of getting stranded Indians from far away countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Europe has already started. This has been possible as we are taking advantage of foreign carriers flying to India for evacuating their nationals.”

Around 300 Indians returned from far away countries in South America including Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Portugal. “These people travelled back on the flights coming from those countries to a central hub and then onwards to India. Efforts are on in close coordination with the Indian missions and posts to get back stranded citizens from other countries in the region and various options are being explored,” said a senior diplomat.

Speaking to the Financial Express Online, Indian ambassador in Mexico, Manpreet Vohra confirmed that “Earlier this 52 Indians had left on a KLM flight to Amsterdam and from there they connected to a special flight of the airlines to reach Mumbai. Now, more will also travel similarly to Amsterdam and will connect to a special flight to Delhi on Sunday.”

Earlier this week, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with all the stakeholders in the Vande Bharat Mission, in an effort to ramp up the scale and efficiency as well as to review what has been done so far.

The government has allowed private airlines and chartered flights to be part of this repatriation exercise and the number of Indians returning will go up.

Meanwhile, as part of Mission SAGAR, Indian Naval Ship Kesari reached the port of Antsiranana at Madagascar carrying medical supplies for the African nation.

How many Indians have returned so far?

In the second phase of repatriation of Indians from overseas, until Thursday (May 28) 45,216 Indians have returned.

According to the MEA which has been handling the repatriation process in close coordination with other ministries and stage agencies this number includes: 8,069 migrant workers; 7,656 students and 5,107 professionals.

Almost 5000 Indians have come back through land border immigration checkpoints located on Nepal and Bangladesh Borders.

Around 3,08,200 Indians have registered their request with the Indian Missions and Posts for repatriation on compelling grounds.

Based on the information shared by the MEA, in Phase II — 429 Air India flights (311 international flights + 118 feeder flights) from 60 countries are scheduled to land in India.

Besides the flights the Indian Navy ships are scheduled to make four more sorties to bring back people from Iran, Iran, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The MEA has designated Additional Secretary level officers who are coordinating with the state governments on issues related to the quarantine facilities as well as other logistic matters, to ensure smooth operations. Also, there is a MEA COVID-19 Control Room which is being manned 24×7 by teams of young diplomats since March 16 and has so far received more than

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