To bring back thousands from 13 countries, Modi launched ‘Mission Vande Mataram’ & ‘Operation Setu Samudra’!

Special Correspondent

New Delhi : India is evacuating stranded citizens abroad. Various aircraft and Indian naval ships are designated to do the task.

To bring back 14,800 Indians stuck in various countries, the Indian Government has laid an evacuation roadmap from 7th May to 13th May. Indians stranded in 13 countries will be airlifted by Air India in its ‘Vande Mataram Mission’. Initially, 64 flights are set to be sent to bring back Indian people from UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UK, Singapore, US, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Malaysia, Kuwait and Oman. Government has also has stated that only the asymptomatic passengers would be allowed on board and the carriers will have to follow to the strict Standard Operating Process (SOP) until they are flown back to the home country.

Similarly, the Indian Navy has sent two ships- Jalashwa and Magar to the Maldives. ‘Operation Setu Samudra’- meaning Sea Bridge, is carried out through these two naval ships to repatriate 1000 stranded Indian citizens at the Maldives, in Phase 1 of evacuation. Only after the medical screening would the stranded persons be onboarded at Male and the disembarkation would happen in Kochi, Kerala, after which they would be entrusted to the care of the State government. The evacuation ships shall provide basic amenities and medical care facilities during sea-passage, and strict adherence to social distancing norms and protocols stipulated are required to be followed, during the onboarding. Also, Indian naval ship Shardul is en route Dubai to get expatriates from West Asian countries.

The Indian High Commissioners in all the countries mentioned above is preparing a list of Indians, who need to return to India for compelling reasons. Indians stuck in these countries are recommended to contact the respective Indian High Commissions to get their names on to the list. The evacuees would be required to pay for their fares in this evacuation.

The evacuation operation is launched by the Indian Government to get back all its citizens stuck at various places due to the travel restrictions imposed on the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. State governments shall make arrangements including for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the returnees, upon arrival. All the evacuation operations are happening in coordination with Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Health, Civil Aviation and various other State agencies and Central government agencies.

Previously, the Indian Government had airlifted and evacuated more than 1,70,000 stranded Indian expatriates during the Kuwait War in 1990 and, more than 4,640 Indians in Yemen were evacuated along with 960 foreign nationals from 41 countries in April 2015. Even now hundreds students airlifted from Wuhan, a epicentre of Covid 19 in China.


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